Wyoming Reserve family fund available

Wyoming Reserve family fund available

Since the Gulf War, the Department of Defense has downsized active duty forces some 35 percent. Consequently, there is a greater reliance on the Reserve components. More Reserve members were called up and served in support of this nation in 2003 than in any year since World War II. The Pentagon projects that over the next 3-5 years it will require between 100,000 to 150,000 Guard and Reserve members to support ongoing military operations.

The increasing frequency of these call-ups has been a challenge for some members who make considerably less pay in the military than in their civilian jobs. This has left some of their families in tight financial situations, forcing them to struggle to pay bills while their loved ones fight on behalf of the country.

Army Reserve Ambassador Tom Walsh from Wyoming wanted to support our Soldiers and their families during this time of stress in their lives. In his role as an Ambassador, Walsh is a civilian volunteer who promotes awareness of the Army Reserve and the goals and objectives of the Chief, Army Reserve. He and other Ambassadors are appointed by the Chief of the Army Reserve and serves as his eyes, ears, and voice in their communities.

Being an Ambassador made Walsh sensitive to the fact that there are over 312,000 dependents of citizen Soldiers nationwide who have plenty to worry about when their loved ones are stationed on the frontlines in the Global War on Terrorism. Since he also serves as a Wyoming State Representative, Walsh successfully sponsored a Wyoming Legislature bill to make it easier for Wyoming families to cope while their breadwinner is off to war. The bill created a $5 million trust fund, which will be used to help qualifying families with special financial needs. The bill passed into Wyoming Law during the 57th Wyoming Legislature and demonstrates the public cares for our Reserve members and their families as they adjust to the new reality of modern war, according to Walsh.

The fund is available to all members of the military from Wyoming (including Reserve, Guard, and Active Duty troops). Dependents and military members submit their request for assistance through the Wyoming Military Department and may access the fund for help with car payments, heater repairs, food bills, medical expenses, etc. This fund has already provided over $300,000 to Wyoming families.

Walsh, a proud volunteer member of the 96th Regional Readiness Command says, “it is the right thing to do to support our fighting citizen warriors by helping them with family financial situations during the deployment.” During the 58th Wyoming Legislature, Walsh will work to increase the trust fund from $5 million to $10 million.

In appreciation of his support, the Soldiers and airmen of the National Guard Association of the United States recently awarded Walsh the Patrick Henry National Award.

COPYRIGHT 2004 U.S. Army Reserve

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group