First Lady Thanks Military Family Support Personnel

Sept. 4, 2014 | BY Cheryl Pellerin , DOD News
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First Lady Michelle Obama teamed up with actor Bradley Cooper yesterday to place a conference call to military support personnel to thank them for their continued service to military families.

The call was part of Obama’s “Joining Forces” initiative, a campaign aimed at aiding military families that she launched with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, in 2011.

As the call began, the first lady thanked Joining Forces Executive Director Steve Parker for his leadership, and Cooper and his team for their level of passion and focus on the troops and their families.

Cooper had a role in "American Hustle” and will play a Navy SEAL in the upcoming film "American Sniper." In 2012, he joined Alec Baldwin, Michael Douglas and other actors in a public service announcement for the first lady’s “Got Your Six” campaign to help military veterans find jobs, education and housing.

‘You all are there for these families’

“And finally, most of all,” Obama told support personnel on the call, “I want to thank all of you for everything you’re doing to support military families across this country. You all are there for these families from the moment they set foot on your bases. And you’re doing … everything from helping them enroll their kids in school and in child care to finding doctors and dentists, churches, carpools.”

Obama described a range of services provided by the support personnel, such as planning holiday parties for families whose mothers or fathers are far from home, or offering referrals or good advice when families are struggling or when a child is in trouble.

“You all know what’s going on -- really going on -- in people’s lives, and you reach folks exactly where they are,” Obama said. “That’s why our military families trust you all so much and they turn to you for guidance and support when they need it. That’s especially true for families with service members who are making that transition back to civilian life.”

Defense Department experts

Also on the call were Defense Department experts Barbara Thompson, DoD’s director of family, child, youth and special needs policy, and Dave Julian, senior advisor for military, community and family policy, who joined in to provide information to the military support personnel.

“Today you’re going to be hearing about all the resources that are available to you not just on mental health, but on employment and all the things we’re doing through our Joining Forces initiative, and so much more,” the first lady said.

“As you all are telling military families about these new resources -- and more of our troops, veterans and families are getting the support they need -- as Bradley said, it’s important to know you all are going to be creating a ripple effect throughout our society,” she added.

The first lady said she and the president are grateful to the military support personnel.

“We look forward to continuing our work together in the months and years ahead,” she added, “to serve our troops, veterans and military families as well as they have served this country.”

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)