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Fort Eustis Regimental Chapel dinner
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Richard C. Longo, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training, helps James Owens with his homework at the Dinner for Families of Deployed event at the Fort Eustis Regimental Chapel Feb. 14. More than 25 volunteers provided dinner and various activities for families throughout the Eustis military community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Antoinette Gibson/Released)
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Regimental Chapel provides special dinner for families of deployed

Posted 2/21/2012   Updated 2/21/2012 Email story   Print story


by Tetaun Moffett
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

2/21/2012 - FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- Throughout the course of the military, family separation for any length of time is inevitable. The military family plays a significant role in the life and careers of active duty service members, and sometimes it can be a burden when they spend time a part. This year the Fort Eustis Regimental Chapel community planned their monthly fellowship dinner on Valentine's Day.

Although this day is designated to share love and appreciation for that special someone, the Chapel community blessed deployed families with a special dinner, and a myriad of pleasant deserts.

"We've been doing this for six years now, and we generally average 65 volunteers throughout the year," said Carole Carkhuff, volunteer coordinator. "This event really boosts morale. Last month when we announced that we were having a Valentines Day dinner, people were so excited."

The Chapel community lends their support every second Tuesday of the month by sponsoring a free dinner for families and spouses of deployed service members. In addition to the free dinners, families break off in groups for team-building discussions and fellowship.

"This has always been a great program for the Fort Eustis military families and I'm grateful to be a part of it," said Carkhuff.

According to Lt. Col. Dennis Proffitt, deputy installation chaplain, this is not a religious affair, but a great opportunity for the Chapel community to reach out to the families to show their support.

"A lot of things are going on in the world, and it's important that families have other people they can share their feelings or anxiety with. What we found out is when we host these dinners with the spouse, this gives them an opportunity to come together share experiences, and encourage one another to better cope with being without their spouse," said Proffitt.

Service members can stay focused on their mission when they know their families are safe and well, said the chaplain. But this takes a lot of hard work, and dedication from the Chapel community volunteers.

"I appreciate all the volunteers who didn't have to be here sharing their time with these families," said Gen. Richard C. Longo, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training. "There is probably not too much we can do for family members of deployed Soldiers. Those who are sacrificing so much however, if we could just once a month give them a chance to go out and eat and not have to worry about cooking or cleaning dishes then we've done a good thing."

This program provides an opportunity for families to be family, enjoy great food, fellowship and fun.

"This is my family, and what better way to celebrate Valentines Day while my husband is deployed serving our country," said Rochelle Crockett, family member. "It's all about being a part of something, building relationships, and its great to know that there are people who didn't forget us during this season."

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