Hot line traffic rises but not all seeking spouses
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — The Abandoned Spouses Hotline on base has gotten many more calls recently, but not necessarily because of an increase in women seeking help, program officials said Friday.
Most of the increased calls since Stars and Stripes published an article about the service last month are not from abandoned spouses, but from Koreans looking to renew contacts with soldier and civilian friends they’ve lost track of, according to a news release from program officials.
A few calls also have come from spouses in other regions, looking for local support, the release said.
Due to the surge in calls, program officials have issued a reminder that the on-base hot line (0505-730-3635) is only for married spouses of Area I soldiers — those who are or were assigned to installations north of Seoul.
Military spouses in need of help elsewhere in South Korea should contact their area’s community service family advocacy program, said Elizabeth Samarripa, the Army Community Services outreach program coordinator for Area I, the northernmost region of South Korea.
Anyone who is not married but shares a child with an Area I soldier can call My Sister’s Place for assistance at (031) 841-2609. The South Korean social service agency might be able to help such women with medical care and legal matters, she said.
The Abandoned Spouses Hotline outreach program has helped about 30 women since it started a year ago, Samarripa said. Most haven’t been abandoned in the classic sense but rather were foreign-born military wives who needed help working through all the immigration paperwork necessary to join their husbands in the U.S. or at their next duty station.
However, in a half-dozen instances, the program has come to the aid of women whose husbands left South Korea with no apparent intention of taking their wives or children with them or supporting them.
The story was picked up by a number of South Korean media outlets, and the publicity led to as many as five to 10 calls a day to the hot line, officials said.