5 Ways To Help Hometown Soldiers
By Dave Collie

Employers, supervisors, co-workers and friends can all help soldiers by relieving concerns about what's going on at home. Intense training and the hazards of combat generate high levels of stress, and a gentle touch from family and friends helps bring sanity into this environment of constant crisis.

Here are five easy ways to help reduce the stress of combat and help win the battle.

  1. Cards and Letters
    Send handwritten cards and letters on a regular schedule. There's something very reassuring about hearing your name announced at mail call and walking away with a card or letter that you can read and re-read -- far better than e-mail. Schedule letter writing, and write often.  Don't expect prompt replies because the fast pace of combat duty and daily fatigue prevent such a luxury. Write about the weather.  Tell about business routines and extraordinary achievements. Give the town gossip.  Keep them up to date on their favorite television show.  Talk about customers and suppliers. Pass along break room jokes and news about employees they know.  Your GI friends are hungry for a touch from home - even if it is in an envelope.  Frequent letters can reduce stress significantly.
  2. Phone calls
    With today's technology you can talk with soldiers at war.  You can get a pin number for inexpensive international calling cards on web sites such as www.noblecom.com.  Call your soldier friends in Afghanistan or Iraq for about thirty cents a minute.  Calls to some countries cost as little as a penny a minute. Not every soldier has access to a phone.  Ask if they can get to a land line or cell phone, and ask about the time difference.  They'll tell you the best time to call. No matter how dangerous the work, a voice of a good friend alleviates stress. Your calls will be remembered for years.
  3. Gifts and packages
    The gifts you send aren't as important as the frequency.  Your soldiers will tell you what they need, but theymight not tell you what they want. Send packages often.  Infantry soldiers cannot carry a lot of stuff at any given time.  They already have 40-60 pounds of weapons and ammunition.  But send enough goodies for them to share with buddies on the front line. You might be the only friend who sends enough for them to share with GIs who never receive anything from the home front. Send favorite foods, snacks, and homemade goodies. Send a product that's new on the market.  Find out whether they need AA batteries. When I was an infantry company commander in Vietnam, my wife once sent a whole case of popcorn that could be popped over a campfire. After months of jungle patrols and tasty C-rations, the popcorn was a touch of home for everyone in the company. Who would have guessed that popcorn could relieve stress?
  4. Pictures
    Take pictures of all company activities, customer functions, and industry happenings.  All of these things are important when you're away from home. Send pictures of co-workers and company events. Include shots of funny things.  Instead of throwing away those goofy faces, put them in an envelope.  These are the people your soldiers know -- and miss! If they can't get disposable cameras from the post exchange, send a couple of the one-use cameras that cost under ten bucks. Trading pictures helps you understand their work and the way they live, and the snapshots help reduce stress for the troops.
  5. News clippings
    Stuff newspaper clippings into those envelopes. GIs want to know what's going on in sports, politics, Hollywood, and society.  They know that the world continues to turn while their time is frozen in combat.  News clippings help them remember what it's like in civilized life. Send industry news and editorials.  News about the war won't damage morale. Seeing war news in print helps soldiers understand how accurate or how misguided their efforts are represented.  Write your own notes right on the article.  Tell them what you think about the news.  Ask for their thoughts. Gather news about their other friends.  Knowing that others continue with daily routines will be encouraging to those doing the hard work. The reality of things helps reduce the stress of not being in touch.

There you have it - five easy ways to stay in touch and reduce stress for soldier friends. You'll be a part of the war on terror. If you also want to help control stress in your workplace, send e-mail to get a free article about controlling the top ten workplace stressors - toptenstressors@couragebuilders.com.

Copyright 2004 by Dale Collie   Dale Collie collie@couragebuilders.com
speaker, author, and former US Army Ranger, CEO,and professor at West Point.  Selected by "Fast Company" as one of America's Fast 50 innovative leaders.  Author of "Frontline Leadership: From War Room to Boardroom," and "Winning Under Fire: Turn Stress into Success the US Army Way." (McGraw-Hil) http://www.couragebuilders.com
F`r`e`e newsletter upon request - subscribe-956606571@ezinedirector.net 

HomeAd Rates
Copyright 2000-2004 Mom2MomList.com