South Dakota Air National Guard focuses on the family

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Stewart
  • 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
November is Military Family Appreciation Month for the South Dakota Air National Guard.  Coincidentally, it was also a time for members of the 114th Fighter Wing to participate in a Yellow Ribbon Welcome Home Event for service members and their families.  Unit members recently returned from a deployment to the Pacific Theater as part of a rotational Theater Support Package.

The Yellow Ribbon event was an opportunity to learn about the benefits and resources available to them as they reintegrate back into their civilian lives.  The event also gave senior leadership from the local, state and national level a chance to thank and recognize them for their service and sacrifice.

"I've missed him a lot," said Tessa Lindsay, spouse of Staff Sgt. Daniel Lindsay, "It's nice to have him back home."

"I have not been able to get any of my to-do list done", said Staff Sgt. Daniel Lindsay, 114th Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Element, "I have been too busy cuddling and taking care of my wife and kids."

As the operation tempo of the National Guard increases, leadership quickly realized that deployments did not just affect service members, but also their spouses and families.  The Yellow Ribbon program was developed in 2008 based off of programs individual states were using to help reintegrate their service members. 

"That moment of the deployed member and the family being reunited is something they both look forward to with a sense of anticipation and joy", said Lt Col. Bill Tesch Wing Chaplain 114th Fighter Wing, "But soon after, the reality of life sets in and families have to adjust to a new way of doing things, which can bring on feelings of resentment or disappointment."

Tesch went on to stress that these feelings are normal, and the Yellow Ribbon Welcome Home event is one place members and their families hear about the resources and benefits available during reintegration.

Members were briefed by the Mike Haugen, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program manager, on where to find all the resources they need for their transition.

Along with the many resources provided to service members at this event, numerous dignitaries were there to show their appreciation to both the member and their families.  The dignitaries there to shake each deployed members hand were Sen. John Thune, Sen. Mike Rounds, Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, and Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, the Adjutant General for South Dakota.

"It was an honor having the Governor and Senators and everyone else there." said Senior Airman Nolan Bostic, 114th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron armament systems specialist.  "It made me feel very important."