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Taking Care of the Home Front

WESTMINSTER - The Vermont Army National Guard Westminster Unit hosted their annual Open House on May 8.

Visitors had a chance to climb a rockwall, take a HUMVEE ride, go up in the bucket of the Westminster Fire Department Tower Truck, check out the VTARNG Recruiters and their Pit Crew Tire Changing Station, sign Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark's renewal petition supported by Bonnie Clark, as Sheriff Clark is serving alongside the Delta Dragons in Afghanistan.

Other organizations on display included the Vermont Liquor Control, the State Police, Golden Cross Ambulance and Cheryl the Clown.

The Westminster Family Readiness Group, consisting of family members of those deployed, also hosted other family support organizations, including the newest addition, Susanne Coffin who is now the Family Assistant Center of the Vermont Army National Guard for the Southern units, the Yellow Ribbon Group from Brattleboro, Post #37 American Legion and the Dragon's Den Lending Library. The library, located in the Westminster armory, specializes in children's books for the families of deployed soldiers.

Coffin, whose husband Voranus is serving in Afghanistan, said she is working with about 100 people in military families in the region. From emotional to financial, the toll that the deployment of a family member to a war zone takes on a family is considerable. Coffin said she is there to help the family find solutions to problems, whether it's housing, child care or money issues.

"I'm hoping to get the word out that we have a FAC Down here," she said. "I hope people take advantage of it. We are constantly meeting with people and groups who want to help out the families of soldiers. And people should know that everything we do is highly confidential."

Coffin can be reached at 338-4183.

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