Arlington, Virginia – October 9-13, 2011
Gold Star Family members from around the United States converged on Arlington, Virginia to act as delegates and take part in the Survivor Outreach Services Summit. The delegates – Gold Star Dads, Moms, Husbands, Wives, Sister, & Brothers – were broken down into five group’s, each reviewing 12 issues.
Each group was provided with a Facilitator (boss lady), Room Manager, Transcriber/recorder, Issue Support Person and roving Subject Matter Experts and of coarse the ever present Army observers. After lengthy discussions each group chose 2 issues to prioritize and rewrite. These 10 issues were then submitted for review.
On Thursday Morning we had the “Report Out” portion of the Summit. Here a representative of each group presented that groups top two issues to Lt General Lynch, IMCOM commanding general and a host of other Army brass and dignitaries.
After reviewing over 60 AFAP issues over a five day period the top 5 issues were elevated to command. Below is a list of the top five issues. (You can read the complete scope and the groups recommendations of these issues from this SOS AFAP Conference Issues PDF)
- 1. Soldier Annual Formal Standardized Face-to-face Training on Last will and Testament
- 2. Causality Assistance officer (CAO) Selection Process
- 3. Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief tax (HEARTY) Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-245,$109) Survivor Contribution Time Restriction
- 4. Dedicated Survivor Resource website
- 5. Dissemination of Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) Support Services of the Extended Survivor Community
Not All Work – Evenings were spent sampling the great restaurants in the Arlington area and socializing in the Hotel. Small groups could always be found on the 2nd floor congregating around the memorial table or sending emails and chatting on Facebook from the computer stations in the bar lobby. By far the most popular area was the hotel bar where we spent the nights cheering on our favorite baseball teams, swapping stories about our heroes and sharing pictures into the wee hours. The bar provided great munchies and more than a few ounces of quality adult beverages were consumed nightly.
This picture represents just a portion of the memorial table. 60 Gold Star Families participated and all of them had something displayed to commemorate their loved ones life.
Sarah and Lt. Gen. Lynch, IMCOM commanding general, took time to speak and pose for pictures with every Gold Star family member in attendance at the report out.
On behalf of all the Gold Star Family Members in attendance, I want to thank the
department of the Army Installation Management Command for putting together the excellent staff of Facilitators, Room Managers, Transcriber/recorders, Subject Matter Experts, and Chaplains to guide us. Their patience and understanding was remarkable. Keeping 60 different personalities, from all walks of life, focused for 5 days would be a chore in itself. Doing it while letting us work our way through personal emotions and still tackle these important issues goes above and beyond. YOU GUYS were in the “cross hairs” all week and came through with flying colors, Awesome!
Thank You also to the staff of the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel for making our visit memorable and taking care of our every need.