Red Cross conducts reconnection workshop for Soldiers of 9th Mission Support Command

| April 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces instructor, Dr. Edward Santos, standing, goes through the Exploring Stress and Trauma module of ARCÕs Reconnection Workshops on Saturday, April 7, at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Saipan. Red Cross offers several Reconnection Workshop modules to service members and their families for free. (Photo By Staff Sgt. James Kennedy Benjamin)

American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces instructor, Dr. Edward Santos, standing, goes through the Exploring Stress and Trauma module of ARCÕs Reconnection Workshops on Saturday, April 7, at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Saipan. Red Cross offers several Reconnection Workshop modules to service members and their families for free. (Photo By Staff Sgt. James Kennedy Benjamin)

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. James Kennedy Benjamin
9th Mission Support Command

TANAPAG, Saipan — American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces instructors conducted a Reconnection Workshop for Army Reserve Soldiers with the 302nd Quartermaster Company, 9th Mission Support Command, on Saturday, April 7, at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Saipan.

The one-and-a-half hour workshop is aimed to equip Soldiers with skills and techniques to combat stress and trauma.

Dr. Edward Santos, a Guam-based ARC instructor and also the director for the Guam Veterans Center, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said this was the first time they conducted this workshop in Saipan.

“We have done this training many times in Guam, but this is the first time that we are having it here in Saipan,” Santos said. “The goal is to provide [service members] with information that they can take with them to use in their everyday work.”

The Reconnection Workshops are intended to help service members reintegrate into society after a deployment, Santos said. The skills that they learn can be applied to any service member’s life, whether they have deployed or not, he said.

“It is not therapy. These workshops allow service members the opportunity to deal with issues when they return from a deployment,” Santos said. “The idea is to give the service members some skills … to cope and also to learn about their strengths that they have after returning from a deployment.”

For one Soldier, the workshop was not what she expected.

“I thought it was going to be counseling, like a one-on-one thing where we share our experiences” said Spc. Casey Obaldo, a Soldier with the 302nd QM Co. and a combat veteran. “It was not like that. What made this training different was that it was in a big group and no one was singled out to share their experience,” she said.

The workshop went through different exercises and scenarios, making Soldiers more aware of stressors, while equipping them with the skills and techniques on how to cope or overcome those stressors.

John Hirsh, the Northern Mariana Islands Chapter executive director, ARC, said he was pleased with the outcome.

“The Red Cross and the military have a long-standing history together,” Hirsh said. “These workshops help strengthen our relationship with our local service members. We are here to support our service members and their families.”

The Red Cross Reconnection Workshop are free. There are five modules for adults and two for children and teenagers. The workshops are small group based discussions, made to be flexible.

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