November 2007

Military Parents Rally Support for each Other and Troops

Author: Linda Hopkins

Goodbyes are never easy, but when a parent sees a child off to war, there are no words to describe the depth of emotion. Suddenly, the nightly news becomes a daily reality. Bluffton resident, Trish Lewis-Clark, knows how it feels to wonder when and if she will see her son again. Enlisting as a Marine Corp reservist, Brandon Polly, 19, is currently on active duty in Iraq.

“My son came home to say his goodbyes at the beginning of August. After he left, I thought, ‘I’m going to have an utter meltdown,’” said Trish. Looking for support groups, she found lots of resources for military wives, but none for military parents. So she’s starting her own Military Parents Support Group, with the goal of providing comfort and support for all military family members, before, during and after deployment. “If you have a loved one who is serving our country, is going to be deployed, has been deployed or has come home from deployment or is getting out of boot camp, that’s what we’re here for,” she said. “You are not alone.”

Trish welcomes phone calls and e-mails from military family members who would like to talk to or correspond with her or who may want to get involved in group activities. “They’re scared their children are not coming back. Is somebody going to show up at my door in a military uniform? That’s the same fear that I have,” said Trish.

Turning it over to the Lord, Trish said, “I pray on an hourly basis. I have to constantly tell myself, there’s a bigger plan and I have no control over that. There are paths in life, and I just have to go with the one I’m guided on now. I really feel strong about the support group. It’s needed.”

You can make a difference
In addition to providing support for family members, Trish’s goal is to increase community awareness. “Men and women are leaving every single day to go fight for our country, she said. “They don’t forget us. It’s my goal to make sure that they know we have not forgotten them.”

Everybody needs a little TLC—tender loving care. But for Trish, TLC also stands for Troops Love Contact. She is currently mounting a care package campaign to provide that extra TLC to our troops. “If someone says to me, ‘I can’t afford to send a care package,’ write a letter of support,” she said. “It will get to someone serving our country, and it will make their day.”

One TLC package contains:
1. Letters of Support
2. Tuna Lunch Kits
3. Pop Tarts
4. Summer Sausage/Beef Jerky
5. Pad of paper/Envelopes/Pen
6. Single Serve Drink mix—Gatorade or Crystal Light
7. Cup of Noodles (single serve size)
8. Hot Chocolate Packets
9. Sugar Free Chewing Gum (blister packs)
10. Protein Bars/Granola Bars

Drop off contributions at the following locations:
The UPS Store in Bluffton
The Tack Shop on Burnt Church Rd.
Bluffton Today
Dr. Tudor Dragulescu’s office on Hilton Head Island

For more information, contact Trish at 843-227-1969 or e-mail her at military_parents_heroes@yahoo.com.

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