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Family Matters Blog: Guardsmen Help Families in Kosovo

By Heather Forsgren Weaver
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2010 РHeather Forsgren Weaver of American Forces Press Service is a regular contributor to Family Matters. Heather's been heavily involved in this blog from the start. She edits, helps write and posts content on a daily basis.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Sgt. Radiff Vega of the Puerto Rico National Guard and Staff Sgt. Carlos Santiago, talk to an interpreter asking him to explain to one of the extremely poor families how to use the items donated by the Red Cross. Vega is a squad leader with the 192nd Liaison Monitoring Team for Multinational Battle Group East and Santiago is the noncommissioned officer in charge of Team 3. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Sarah A. Cummings
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In this blog, Heather writes about soldiers from the Puerto Rico National Guard helping families in Kosovo.

'So Many Families in Need'

The Family Matters blog often explores issues dealing with servicemembers and their own families, but I recently came across a story about Puerto Rico National Guardsmen who are helping families in Kosovo, "Puerto Rico Guardsmen Work With Kosovo's Poorest" written by Army Pfc. Sarah A. Cummings of the 130th Public Affairs Detachment.

I wanted to share the article with you as an example of the contributions our servicemembers are making overseas even as their families are at home missing them.

"There are so many families here in need," Sgt. Marta Gonzalez, told Pvt. Cummings. "Each family is living in extremely poor situations."

Sgt. Gonzalez is a member of the 192nd Liaison Monitoring Team. Sgt. Gonzalez and other team members spend their time talking to families, business owners and government officials to find out about specific needs.

 

Team members don't just talk to people in Kosovo's villages; they also travel out to the countryside.

Once the team finds out about a problem, the next step is to find out what governmental agency or non-governmental organization can best help and then work to get that group involved.

For example, sometimes the team works with the local Red Cross to bring families vitamins, soap and toothpaste.

"This job is very important," said Sgt. Radiff Vega, a former wheeled vehicle mechanic with the Puerto Rico Guard who is now a team squadron leader. "We are the link between the people in Kosovo and the government. We are teaching them where to go to get things they need so that they can do this on their own."

"What we have to understand is that Kosovo is still in development," Sgt. Vega added.

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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