America Supports You: Internet Radio Show Helps Military Wives
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
HINESVILLE, Ga., Dec. 21, 2006 Two Army wives have joined forces to run an Internet radio show that provides important information to other military wives.
Tara Crooks, left, and Star Henderson share their experience as military wives on Army Wife Talk Radio.com, an Internet radio show dedicated to helping military wives. Crooks and Star hope to join the America Supports You program. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Tara Crooks and Star Henderson have more than 20 years' experience between them, and the two have teamed up to help other military wives through their Internet talk radio show, Army Wife Talk Radio.com and their syndicated question-and-answer column called Field Problems..
“We want to pass that experience along to other Army wives,” said Henderson, 32, whose husband, David, is a captain in the Georgia Army National Guard. The Hendersons have a 10-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.
Army Wife Talk Radio.com covers a variety of topics, such as how to solve family challenges when a spouse is deployed and navigate the military’s healthcare system. The program has developed a core following of fans, said Crooks, 31, a veteran with 10 years of military experience. Crooks' husband, Kevin, is a U.S. Army captain assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga. The Crooks have a 5-year-old daughter.
“It became like a community thing, where I’ve got loyal listeners that are probably following my life, wondering what the heck is going to happen in the Crooks’ household today,” Crooks said. “And, then I’ve got people calling in and sharing their stories. It makes me feel that I’m not alone.”
There are “so many” services available to help military families, Crooks said there’s no cohesive program to promote them to family members. That’s where the radio show can really help, she said.
Crooks launched Army Wife Talk Radio.com a year and a half ago, and Henderson got involved about seven months ago when she began writing for the show's newsletter. Now they co-author the column Field Problems, a direct response to listeners’ requests from the Army Wife Talk Radio.com program.
A recorded show is made available on the site each Monday, but Crooks said they hope to be able to broadcast live in the near future.
In addition to sharing her personal experiences, Crooks also interviews experts to provide advice on and get information about different subjects.
About seven months ago, Crooks interviewed Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison, for the show. The radio show and the Field Problems newsletter are preparing to become sponsors of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program.
“I think it’s an amazing program,” Crooks said of the ASY program. “Just to see all those organizations coming together to support military members and their families is wonderful.”
America Supports You highlights support from individuals, non-profit organizations and corporations for U.S. military men and women. ASY, Operation Homefront and Wal-Mart joined forces to sponsor Operation Christmas here and at five other locations across the country to bring cheer to military families.
Crooks and Henderson attended yesterday’s Operation Christmas event for military families here. During the event, they discussed their shows and shared some of their views on military family life.
Juggling husbands and children and military life can be challenging, the women said, but military wives are a strong lot who instinctively bond together to help one another, discuss pressing issues and propose solutions.
According to Crooks' husband, Army Wife Talk Radio.com is "absolutely great," and his wife is eminently qualified to help other military wives.
“She is definitely the ‘rock,’” Kevin Crooks said. “She holds together the family when I am gone [on deployment], she pays the bills. It’s really unbelievable what she puts in.”