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Red Cross program helps military families

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Deployments are a fact of life in the military. Whether for training or combat, a family member's absence often affects the entire family. Deployments are a fact of life in the military. Whether for training or combat, a family member's absence often affects the entire family.
ATLANTA -

Deployments are a fact of life in the military. Whether for training or combat, a family member's absence often affects the entire family. A new program offered by the Red Cross in Atlanta is hoping to ease the transition when a soldier comes home.

Amy Creech says she's proud to be a military wife, but it doesn't come without its challenges.

"It's a lot of me by myself with the kids, him being gone, missing out on a lot of stuff for the kids," said Creech.

Her active duty Army husband has been deployed three times. She says she lives for the homecomings.

"The homecomings, are like, are so exciting. It's a unique feeling being in that hanger waiting for them to come home. It's just such a sense of relief when they finally land. To know they're home safe," said Creech.

A sense of relief soon gives way to a whole new reality: Life with a father who is now home.

"The kids are so used to seeing him either on the computer or talking to him on the phone. And then they're right there. It's like, new situation," Creech said.

A period of readjusting and reconnecting affects many military families.

"Suddenly they're a disciplinarian, they're taking out the trash, running carpool. It's different, and that coming back into the family life is tough, plus their jobs have changed," said Lauren Pearse of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross in partnership with Wal-Mart is offering a series of reconnection workshops. Facilitated by mental health professionals, they focus on building positive reconnections between family members. Subjects include communication, stress, anger and depression. What's unique is that the whole family can participate, and you can address issues specific to your situation.

"There's a lot of soldiers that come back and they haven't necessarily been injured or they don't have anything wrong with them, technically. But they just need some help," said Creech.

"There's really nothing natural about being away from your family for nine to 12 to 15 months. It's a tough change for everybody, and there just needs to be able to have that conversation so that you can work through it," said Pearse.

The workshops are completely confidential and available to all military families free of charge. There are no restrictions on branch of service, time served or when you served. The Atlanta Red Cross will host an information meeting for prospective Reconnection Workshops facilitators on August 1, 7 PM, at Atlanta Red Cross headquarters on Monroe Drive NE. For more information, click here.

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