By Connie Dicky
5th Recruiting Brigade Public Affairs
August 15, 2017
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Soldiers and family members of the 5th Recruiting Brigade recently gathered in downtown San Antonio to take part in the Alamo Warrior Quality of Life training.
The weeklong program from July 31 to Aug. 3, focused on wellness and family resiliency and provided family members with thinking skills and coping strategies needed to take care of themselves and the Soldiers in their lives.
Col. Terance Huston, 5th Recruiting Brigade commander, who hosted the event, said he believes the time and effort put into conducting events like this pays off by making Army families stronger and better able to cope with the adversities they face in their lives.
"My hope is that we gained additional insight into how to improve our families' ability to handle the pressures and stress associated with being a recruiting military family," Huston said. "We wanted families to learn about specific stressors associated with raising children with disabilities."
The presentations were designed to help Soldiers and their families understand what Army family services and programs are available. The information shared offered Soldiers the opportunity to learn how to develop techniques to help them better leverage and navigate those programs.
One of the featured guest speakers at the event was Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, commanding general of the United States Army Recruiting Command. Snow thanked the participants for attending the event and encouraged them to use the programs.
"I challenge you to learn as much as you can about the many programs and services the Army offers Soldiers and their families," Snow said. "You should take advantage of the support that the Army provides families to allow you to take care of your family in the best ways possible and to help you and your family remain strong as you deal with the many demands of being a recruiter."
During the training, Col. Joni Johnson, a pediatrician, medical director and founder of Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning, provided insight on how to understand the individual needs of exceptional family members. Johnson specializes in helping children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and other disorders that negatively impact learning. She said each child has different needs that must be addressed on an individual basis.
"It's important that you ask Soldiers questions, not just to learn about the Soldiers but to learn about their families too," Johnson said. "When you have a complete understanding of all the challenges the families are facing, you can then help bridge the gap between the civilian care community and the Army Exceptional Family Member Programs and services that are available. I want you to be motivated and excited about helping Soldiers and their family members because making a difference in their lives makes our Army families stronger."
Leaders in attendance were exposed to the unique health and wellness challenges experienced by 5th Brigade and other USAREC families, with the goal of developing strategies to help the families become more resilient. The intent of the program was to help families mitigate those challenges over time by empowering them to thoroughly understand how to find competent professional help when they need it.
According to event organizers, being all alone to deal with major family issues is tough and it's sometimes impossible to manage a family crisis when you lack the necessary skills needed to maintain a strong family.
"Every person who took part in the event will take away something different," said 5th Recruiting Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Craig Russell. "The training focused on how to take care of yourself first and then how to apply it to families and other Soldiers."
Some of the specific skills that were taught included everyday life exercises designed to provide families with insight they can reflect on and apply to their own situations in the future.
"That's why we teach our recruiting families the strategies they need to enhance their confidence and ability to successfully navigate troubled waters," Russell said. "When they have what they need, the world is a whole lot better for the Soldier, their family, the recruiting brigade and the Army."
The brigade training event focused on how Soldiers could successfully deal with themselves first, and then, how they can use and apply the knowledge to the Alamo Warriors they take care of every day and their families. The primary takeaway for participants was the understanding they gained regarding how they can take better care of their families.
"We taught them about mindset, attitude and thought performance interaction - how their thoughts can be used to perfect their performance," said Robert Staley, the brigade Soldier and Family Assistance program manager. "So often, military families have to face challenges that are life-changing and difficult to deal with."