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Kentucky’s first lady visits soldiers’ spouses

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Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 9:01 am

Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear came to the Family Resource Center at Fort Campbell on Tuesday to speak to the spouses of the soldiers on the base about how the Commonwealth of Kentucky can better support soldiers’ families.

“Fort Campbell and, of course, Fort Knox are vitally important to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and to all of the communities that surround them,” she said at a news conference following her discussion with the spouses. “(The meeting) was just a time to talk and listen and actually make some connections, and hopefully, we’ll be able to do some things that can connect Fort Campbell spouses with the National Guard spouses because some of them will be going through their first deployment and can talk about how to manage with their families.”

Beshear also heard the spouses’ concerns for their families and ideas about services that can help military families.

“Everyone needs to ask for help at some point in time,” she said. “Everybody lives stressful lives. This was an opportunity for everyone to open up. … A lot of people found that they had similar issues.”

Beshear said that the spouses are hoping for local communities to get more involved with special needs. She added that some families are in need of simple things, like with meals or mowing the lawn, things that civilians may take for granted.

“I thought (the discussion) was very informative,” said Georgia Lillibridge. “We’ve been gone for two years, but we were here for seven years before that. The Fort Campbell community is unlike any other Army community we’ve been in as far as the support that we receive from the outside communities, Clarksville and Hopkinsville. I think it’s fabulous.

“(Beshear) wanted to know other ways they could help and other programs they could start. She explained some of the programs they already have ongoing, and we discussed quite a few other programs to connect Fort Campbell children with outside schools in Kentucky, ways to help Wounded Warriors and lots of other great programs.”

One spouse felt that bringing more programs for special-needs members of the family was high on the list of needs for Fort Campbell families, adding that she got positive feedback from Beshear.

“We need adaptive programs, like the swimming program at (another) pool, they have a class where it’s actually one-on-one, and they teach the kids to swim,” said Darlene Schwind. “They have adaptive riding programs with the horses where the kids learn to ride. My son was in an adaptive taekwondo class that was slower, more geared towards what they could do. He also took gymnastics class that was geared towards what he could do. This is not here; that’s the kind of things that we’re trying to get here.

“This was in the D.C. area; we lived in northern Virginia. Once a month, AMC theatres have sensory-friendly movies, that kind of thing. I’ve been here for about a year, and I have not been able to find inclusive programs like that for my son, and he’s been pretty isolated. The sports programs and things that they do here on post are for children that are younger than 5; it doesn’t include programs for school-age kids. So, we’re going to try to work with the State of Kentucky and the local Chamber of Commerce to see if we can’t get some things started.”

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