Guard Support Grants Aid Families of Deployed Troops

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May 19, 2010
Guard Support has awarded four Family Readiness Grants to National Guard units from Brockton, Dorchester, Milford and Pittsfield. The grants will aid each unit's Family Readiness Group, a support network for families of the deployed Massachusetts National Guard troops.

“The men and women of the National Guard are serving our nation overseas, and we are here to assist their families as they adjust to the long-term absence of these parents.  The families already sacrifice so much, and it's our mission to lighten their burden,” said Sherry Handel, Executive Director of Guard Support, a non-profit that provides assistance to Guard families when deployment causes financial hardships.

In this latest round of funding, the HHB 1/101st FA Unit in Brockton received $500, the 164th Transportation Company in Dorchester received a $1,000 grant, the JFHQ Forward LRCAG in Milford received $500 and the 379th Engineers Detachment 1 in Pittsfield received $500.  The grants are based, in part, on the deployment status of the Guard unit.  Guard Support has awarded 42 Family Readiness Group Grants totaling $43,000 since 2007.

Family Readiness Groups are support networks for families of deployed National Guard soldiers and airmen, and they often use the grant funds to hold send-off and homecoming ceremonies, support group meetings, educational programs  and special events for children.

“The value of a Family Readiness Group cannot be over-emphasized.  Knowing that there is such a strong support system in place to care for the myriad of concerns that our family members have allows my unit to concentrate fully on their mission.  The FRG is as integral a part of our force as the soldiers themselves. We're blessed to have such support,” said 1st Lieutenant Stacey Williams-Beaton, Detachment Commander for the 164th Transportation Battalion.

Guard Support, a private, non-profit organization founded in 2007, is the first of its kind in the nation. Guard Support assists the members and families of the Massachusetts National Guard when deployment causes financial hardships. In addition to Family Readiness Group Grants, Guard Support provides emergency assistance to families of deployed warriors and assistance to soldiers and airmen.

Guard Support emergency assistance grants can be used by Guard families to pay bills such as the rent or mortgage, utilities and car payment.  Guard Support also subsidizes transportation on leave for Guard members, as well as Internet and Internet-telephone connections between families and members deployed overseas.

Since September 11, 2001, more than 9,600 Massachusetts National Guard soldiers and airmen have been mobilized into federal service, and more than 7,100 of those served overseas.  There are currently 8,300 soldiers and airmen in the Massachusetts National Guard, serving in Air Force and Army units, in both combat and support roles.

For more information about donating to Guard Support or applying for a grant, visit www.guardsupport.org or call (617) 848-8868.


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