June 19, 2005

Steppin' in for dear ol' deployed dad -- Father's Day 2005

This is what it's all about... coming together for the well-being of the children and families of those serving our great nation: Mentors Help Kids Whose Fathers Are at War

[...] On this Father's Day, it should be noted that about 60 percent of military personnel — about 838,000 — are fathers, according to the Pentagon. More than 123,000 of these fathers are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. "The lives of their children," says Nancy Campbell, who works in Army family services, "are turned upside down."

[...] Untold numbers of men and women — relatives, neighbors, other servicemen and women — have marched to the aid of these children as temporary mentors. They play softball and board games, help with homework, and try to ease childhood's troubles with a sympathetic ear until the return of the deployed dads — or, sometimes, moms.

Some join programs like the one run by Big Brothers Big Sisters inside three public schools at Camp Pendleton, the city-sized base south of Los Angeles. Other mentors step forward informally to help brighten a dark time for a child.


Some mentors mean to pay a debt of sorts to the deployed fathers. "I just wanted to do something for the military, and I can't serve anymore, so I did this," said Rich Alan, 67, of Vista, Calif., a former seaman who has mentored two boys.

Gilstrap, the principal [of Mary Fay Pendleton School--.ed], said many Marine mentors are themselves veterans of the war in Iraq. They often feel as though they are returning a favor to the Marine replacing them by giving their time to yet another Marine's child.

Posted by Kyer at June 19, 2005 01:07 AM