National Guard Assistance Center ready to help - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

National Guard Assistance Center ready to help

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By Jeff Lawson – bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - In our last Project Homefront report, we heard from Gulfport's Kathie Ladner, who talked about the challenges her family has faced during her husband's numerous deployments. She understands that better than most, not just because she is a military spouse, but also because of what she does every day.

It was 21 years ago when the Ladners married. Since John was an Air Force Academy graduate, Kathie knew her life would be that of a military spouse. But did she truly understand what that would involve?

"Very little," Ladner said. "I knew there would be multiple moves. I knew there would be times he would be gone for training, possible deployments."

John has deployed seven times, including his service during Operation Desert Storm. John loves the military, and Kathie and their three children support him in every way possible. But when the subject of deployments comes up, Kathie gets emotional.

"Faith has been a really stronghold for us," she said fighting back tears. "To deal with deployments, to deal with the families of others who are deploying, faith has been something we truly have relied on."

It's that strong desire to help other military families in similar circumstances, that brought her to the National Guard's Family Assistance Center. Daily, they deal with the families of hundreds of National Guard members.

One day it might be an email or phone message to a family of a guard member. Other times it might include workshops and briefings. Sometimes, Kathie said, it is just about being there to listen. 

"We can just be that shoulder somebody needs one afternoon, when that bucket of chocolate ice cream is not enough to handle that day."

Kathie calls communication the most important element for a successful deployment. She ended our interview by encouraging anyone who so wishes to be aware of and use the Assistance Center's resources. She can be reached at (228) 255-0428 or click here for a complete list of Family Assistance Centers in Mississippi.

Remember, we want to hear your story about dealing with a deployed spouse or other loved one. Click here to share your story, and you could win a spa prize package and dinner for four.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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