Placerville Organization Supporting Area Military Families for a Decade
03/31/2015 04:48PM ● Published by Style
Top: Julie Leconte, Tim Thompson, Linda Griffiths-Gish, Cheri Walswick and MaryLynn Morgan Bottom: Hervé Leconte, Teresa Alberghini, Patrice Hocking and Dave Sauvé – Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
“A family with a mom or dad that’s serving needs help—they’re operating as a single-parent family,” says Julie Leconte, facilitator with Military Family Support Group (MFSG), based in Placerville. “Even offering to mow a lawn is a big help. Ultimately, it’s the kindness factor military families need most.”
MFSG was started in 2004 with two purposes: making military families and veterans feel appreciated and valued, and making sure military families and veterans know they’re not alone. Reaching those goals can be a challenge for an all-volunteer organization with a very limited marketing budget, but with strong connections to the veteran’s support organizations in the area, word is spreading. Currently MFSG serves hundreds of veterans and their families throughout El Dorado County, and more are always welcome.
Importantly, the name “support group” doesn’t do justice to everything the group is and does. In addition to monthly meetings at the Veterans Memorial Building in Placerville—where there can be as much laughter as tears—MFSG has made itself a hub of resources and training for veterans and families, which starts with a lending library where books range from Military for Dummies to Once A Warrior, Always A Warrior. From there, seminars, classes and special events round out a program that’s centered on helping people connect and get the help they need.
As one example, MFSG will host its annual PTSD Awareness Event and Information Fair on June 5, to help veterans and families recognize and understand PTSD and learn how to get help dealing with it.
“Seeking help is not a sign of weakness,” Leconte says. “The challenges many veterans face daily, as compared to someone without PTSD, takes enormous strength, courage and perseverance. I am in awe of them, and I don’t [want] them to have to face those challenges alone anymore.”
Importantly, parents with children in the military are warmly welcomed and encouraged to take advantage of MFSG’s fellowship and resources. As Leconte says, there are some things only parents can understand, and some things only parents with children in the military can understand, and MFSG is full of parents of soldiers.
For veterans and their families, who deserve more than the organization can ever provide them with, MFSG is doing all it can with what it has, but is actively seeking more support. This year, for the first time, the group has been invited to participate in the El Dorado Community Foundation’s “Give Where You Live” fund-raising event on April 23. “From midnight to midnight, there will be drop-off points throughout the community where people can make donations, and they can specify where they want those donations to go,” Leconte says. “We would be grateful for any donations we can get to help us continue and grow our work.”
For more information, visit mfsgonline.org.