Archive for Thursday, September 30, 2004

Support to be offered to military families

September 30, 2004

Iraq seems like a long way from Baldwin City, but it's not. There are around 30 people with Baldwin ties involved with military effort and one that's just getting ready to depart.

Lt. Col. Brian Orloff recently left Baldwin and his family for a six-week training period at Fort Riley. Orloff will head to Iraq Oct. 29 with his 326th Area Support Group. He'll be gone for a year, away from his wife, Sabina, daughter Denise, 16, son Jacob, 15, and daughter Eileen, 11. That's the toughest part.

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"It was difficult for me to leave," said Orloff. "I said good-bye to the children in the morning and went to the high school to give Denise something. We hugged a long time and we both cried.

"It was difficult because I'm going to miss a lot of things in the next year," he said. "But, it's something I've got to do."

That's the feeling of all of those involved with the conflict, especially those that volunteer for the effort, such as Orloff. With that in mind, several Baldwin residents are putting together an effort to help with the families left behind.

Christy Carlisle is among them and Lisa Robertson, local American Legion commander, who has a son, Jarod, in Iraq is another. Robertson is compiling the list of who all is over there from here and has just about completed that.

"That's something as a Legion we're supposed to do," said Robertson. "That's to keep track of who's active and try to offer support to their families."

Carlisle decided to get involved with the effort about the time Orloff headed off. She wants to put people together to help out at home, as well as keep in touch with those over seas to off them support.

"What I want to do is coordinate with the people over here and the people over there," said Carlisle. "If they need help getting a lawn mowed here, we'll get a lawn mowed.

"It's so we don't forget the people over here and the mental stress they're going through," she said. "Things like he used to pick up the kids after school and now he's not here. It's little things like that that can cause stress and where people can help."

Carlisle and Robertson have been working on getting the names and coordinating efforts. When that's completed, more can be done by the numerous people in Baldwin who want to do what they can to help, they say.

"Lisa is getting the names from the American Legion," said Carlisle. "We can't put the address out, but we can do e-mail and stuff. We don't want to give out things we shouldn't.

"I've got a digital camera, a scanner and a computer," she said. "If it's something as simple as getting a picture over there, I can do that."

The specifics of those serving from Baldwin can't be revealed for security reasons. Orloff joked about it when asked where he'd be stationed.

"Yeh, I know where I'll be, but I can't really tell you," he said. "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you."

It's not that drastic, of course, and the effort is underway to line up Baldwin residents to stay in touch with those serving and also helping the families left behind. The Signal will update the efforts as they continue.

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