Luncheons aim to help homesick soldiers
January 24, 2004
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Area I officials are touting a pair of upcoming lunch meetings designed to help ease potential problems between deployed soldiers and separated family members.
The first meeting, to be held by the Area I Family Advocacy Team on Jan. 29, is to focus on the “return and reunion” program. The meeting will begin at 11:45 a.m. at Tommy’s on Camp Stanley.
The second, to be held Jan. 30, is for Coin and Covenant, in which soldiers and their spouses vow to remain faithful while temporarily apart. That meeting also will begin at 11:45 a.m. at Tommy’s.
Both meetings are free and do not require reservations.
The return and reunion program can help re-integrate soldiers into a family structure that has spent a year without them, according to the Family Advocacy Team. Almost 90 percent of 2nd Infantry Division soldiers are in South Korea on one-year, unaccompanied tours, leaving their families behind in the States.
“We help servicemembers and their families identify common concerns of people who are waiting back home,” said Kelly Clark, an Area I family advocacy program prevention specialist.
The team plans to hold return and reunion lunches the third Friday of each month, officials said. This month’s meeting was rescheduled due to a training holiday.
The Coin and Covenant program is sponsored by chaplains’ offices throughout South Korea. Program participants sign a special pledge of fidelity; a letter of commitment also is sent to the spouse back home. Both spouses receive a special coin, similar to those popular with various military units, as a reminder of their commitment.
The program has proved popular at installations throughout South Korea. At Camp Henry in Area IV, the last Coin and Covenant meeting drew some three dozen participants.