Yellow Ribbon Event Supports Task Force Scorpion

12/05/2011  |  By Staff Sgt. LaTonya Y. Kelly 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs
The Griffon

Children write personal messages to their dads during a Yellow Ribbon event hosted by the 95th Training Division (IET) in Orlando, Sept. 17-18. Photo by Cpt. Jennifer Cotten, 95th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The 95th Training Division (IET) sponsored a Yellow Ribbon event in Orlando for the families of deployed Task Force Scorpion Soldiers currently in Afghanistan. The Soldiers make up members of the 95th, 98th, and the 104th Divisions.

The September 15-18 event provided families with free travel, hotel accommodations, mid-deployment information, and counseling that is useful during temporary family separation. The Family Readiness team there effectively promoted military benefits and increased morale for family members.

The Yellow Ribbon event raises Soldier and family readiness through resources for resiliency, substance abuse awareness, deployment entitlements, and suicide prevention. Some family members were introduced to Skype chat and shown how to communicate with their deployed Soldier using social media.

Event personnel spoke to families and provided free childcare throughout the sessions. Fun activities were held and snacks were given to children as they watched movies and colored posters to send overseas to their deployed loved one. Several vendors set up tables with resources, pamphlets, and gifts for the children.

A prayer breakfast was held at the beginning of the session where Chaplain Randy Ridenour offered an invocation that recognized deployed service members and their families. Opportunities to talk with the chaplain were available to families that requested it throughout the event.

The Martino family at the 95th Training Division Yellow Ribbon event in Orlando, Fla. Sept. 17-18 and received a surprise vacation from their loved one who is deployed in Afghanistan as part of Task Force Scorpion. (Bottom row): Jaxson and Alexandria Martino (Top row) Samuel Mainer, Brandi Martino holding daughter Sydnee and Sheila Fairchild (Brandi’s mother).

Design by Sgt. 1st Class Marty A. Collins, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs.

A special surprise awaited one of the families in attendance. Sgt. 1st Class Mark Martino scheduled a surprise vacation at the Disney Shades of Green Resort for his family. Martino provided a rental car and itinerary for his family to follow after the Yellow Ribbon event titled, “Operation Disney.”

Martino e-mailed his wife a detailed description that consisted of annexes for guidance. The couple’s children were surprised but very thankful of their father’s effort and thoughtfulness. Although Martino was unable to be there to enjoy the resort and theme parks, he assured they were happy and occupied. Sgt. 1st Class Martino is assigned to the 108th Training Command (IET) and communicates daily with his family through e-mails and Tango, a mobile video communications application used on various mobile devices.

According to the Yellow Agenda, the weekend retreat was designed to strengthen the communication with families, be informative, assist with the trials of separation, and provide a fun weekend. On the event’s last day, families were given the option to visit Sea World, Busch Gardens, Dave and Busters, and Pirates Cove that offered military discounts and free admissions. A lot of first timers were amazed at the opportunity to attend the Yellow Ribbon event as well as experiencing a fun family getaway.

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