What the H.E.R.O.E.S care organization represents for our troops and their families
I recently became aware of H.E.R.O.E.S. Care and the support it provides to not only those who serve in the military, but for military families and Veterans as well. The letters of the word ‘heroes’ say it all: Homefront Enabling Relationships, Opportunities and Empowerment through Support. The H.E.R.O.E.S Care Hometown Support Program is a partnership of national charities working together to provide a system of coordinated, one-to-one care for military families before, during, and after deployment. The H.E.R.O.E.S. Care organization is a principal founding member of the St. Louis Regional Alliance for the troops (RAFITT) which is an affiliation of governmental and non-governmental organizations and agencies pledged to work together find new and better ways to serve military members and their families.
It is important that those serving to protect the freedoms we have under the Constitution have the necessary support they need along with their families. Many individuals serve in foreign landsaway from their families and friends. In some cases individuals are single which present a whole different set of needs and support. The H.E.R.O.E.S. Care organization works to provide that support. One point to make clear is that it is a non-governmental organization to providing complete and proactive support for members of all branches of the military. The key word here is being proactive rather than reactive.
The program initiated by this organization consists of thousands of trained caregivers and thousands of professional mental health care and service providers. The support provided by this group of individuals runs through pre-deployment, deployment, family reintegration and
post-deployment. Military members who serve in foreign lands need all the support that can be provided for themselves and their families.
The structure of the H.E.R.O.E.S. care was basically designed to meet two additional criteria:
- To allow other NGOs with specialized expertise to partner with the program while maintaining their independence of action and organizational control.
- To act as an augment to and not as a replacement for any existing federal or military program.
Many experts agree that a comprehensive, local system of support is needed to address the needs of our military and their families. Serving in the military canbe stressful during their tour of duty either in the United States or while deployed. Having a local organization that can be responsive and a support structure which can recognize and intervene to assist in crisis situations is an important aspect of what this organization represents.
Once a service member makes the decision that he or she needs the kind of support this group provides, the service member designates an individual to receive support during deployment as their Primary Care Receiver. A volunteer from the service member’s local community who has been trained in care-giving and the deployment cycle is assigned to the service member and their family. Since 2009 more than 2,600 caregivers in 25 states have received the specialized training to provide the one-to-one support in local communities. These caregivers are known as Hometown Support Volunteers (HSVs).
It is important that those serving in the military get the support they deserve whether it be from the government or organizations such as this. The structure of this organization and the impact it has been providing has been recognized for its support efforts by the VA in streamlining the process to provide timely and effective services. The combination of having the ability to meet critical financial and material needs of military families along with the Hometown Support Volunteers to direct support and coordinate community efforts is critical in supporting military members and their families.
Additionally, this organization has been recognized by the state of Missouri and the Department of the Army for their support of veterans. They have won the Governors Conspicuous Service Medal, the highest award conferred on civilians. Another honor given to this organization is the Minuteman Award for exceptional service to the National Guard. These are only two examples, but they are evidence of their quality and commitment given to those in the military and their families.