If you are visiting this site to find ideas to encourage... a neighbor, a friend, a family member, co-worker or someone at your church who is going through the hardship of a deployed spouse, thank you for caring. I hope our stories will help you to understand what we are going through and give you some ideas in how to encourage the military home front.
Every family's situation is unique, and there is no common scenario of a deployment. Some families are on or near a military installation that provides a Family Readiness Group (FRG) or other resources. There are many, however, that are removed from such resources. What's more, being away from a military installation creates the added struggle of loneliness...that there is no one who really understands.
There are other factors that make each deployment unique. The Soldier may leave behind a girlfriend, a fiance, a spouse, younger children, older children, grandchildren, parents. Sometimes the spouse left behind is the husband, and sometimes both spouses are deployed. The family may have health issues to deal with in addition to coping with the deployment. That's why at Operation We are Here I have done my best to include a variety of stories.
If you are a loved one going through a deployment...
I hope that in this site you will find an understanding of your situation...you are not alone.
Many of you are not near a military installation and the resources it might offer, and for those who are, perhaps this will provide added ideas or resources that you could share with your friends and members of your FRG. There are a lot of resources out there, but who has the time to search for them during a deployment?
If you are on your own in a community that is not near a military installation, you may feel very alone in what you are going through. It is my hope and prayer that this website will give you some feeling of connection and also help you to easily connect you to resources that may better equip you through the deployment.
If you are new to the military community...
I hope that these resources and stories will help you to not just cope with the military lifestyle, but to thrive.
- To create an awareness of the challenges of the military community
- To offer practical suggestions to churches, communities and individuals on how to support and encourage the military community
- To provide a comprehensive list of resources for the military community (active duty, veterans, their families) and its supporters
Statement of faith
We are a non-denominational Christian ministry that adheres to these fundamental Christian beliefs:
- The Bible is the infallible written Word of God relevant for all times.
- There is one true God, eternally existing in three persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Salvation is through faith in Christ alone.
I am thankful for those who have contributed to Operation We Are Here:
Patti Katter (Faith Deployed, Hope for the Warriors, PattiKatter.com)
Special thanks to Jess Terpstra for creating the Operation We Are Here logo, offering website layout expertise and insights, and weekly pulling together our Facebook Thankful Thursday pictures!
Benita Koeman (Founder) - Benita Koeman has been married to Scott, an Army Chaplain, for 25 years. They have three children, ages 17, 19, and 21.
Benita, a Canadian, met Scott at Reformed Bible College (now Kuyper College) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the time Scott served with the Michigan National Guard, which didn't mean a whole lot to Benita except that he was gone one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer.
As they prayed about joining the active duty Army in 2002, Scott mentioned to Benita that they should be prepared for one or two deployments in his Army career. Incidentally, a few weeks before his report date in January of 2003, they got the call to hold off on the move to El Paso, TX because after his arrival he would be deploying to the Middle East a week later. And so, all of a sudden the fact that Benita hadn't had time to check out the hospital at Ft. Bliss during their house-hunt didn't matter anymore because baby #3 would be born in Michigan while Scott was gone. The war with Iraq was big news, and, as awkward as it was, Benita received a lot of encouragement and support from church and family. It left such an impression with her that when there is a need, the church community steps in.
Two years later Scott deployed to Qatar/Afghanistan for a one year assignment. Benita and the children, then 2, 4 and 6 moved back to Michigan for the year. Scott's unit comprised of Soldiers from all over, so there was no cohesive base or core group which formed a support system for the families in any way. "I started the year with a strong "I can handle this" attitude, but as the months passed the single-parenting situation on my home front was overwhelming at best, and eventually I was struggling so much to get a grip that I didn't even know how to begin to ask for help. The cold Michigan winter set in my heart as well...it was the most difficult year of my life. I had resolved that I was on my own in my struggle to make it through the year. They say "one day at a time"...There were days, days that in their own right should have been good days, but I was so "down" that I felt like I had to hang on for "one breath at a time."
Benita's husband returned home from his third deployment (Afghanistan) in the summer of 2010. The Koeman family is currently stationed in Michigan.
Learn more about My Story - LINK
What's in a name?
Operation "We Are Here"
"Make every Who Holler! Make every Who shout! Make every Who scream!
We are here! We are here! We are here! We are here!"'
In 1954 Dr. Seuss penned "Horton Hears a Who". The story begins:
On the fifteenth of May, in the Jungle of Nool,
In the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool,
He was splashing...enjoying the jungle's great joys...
When Horton the elephant heard a small noise."
The noise came from a small speck of dust, and on that speck Horton discovered another world...Who-ville. Horton's friends thought he was crazy talking to the speck and did not believe that Who-ville existed. Horton quickly discovered that without his help, the citizens of Who-ville would be in grave danger. So he told the mayor of Who-ville to rally all of the citizens together and to join with one voice, "We are here! We are here!"
My friend is struggling to get her church to support and sponsor their Soldiers and their families. She equated the military to the citizens of Who-ville...another world that civilians hardly know exists or care about.
I became a citizen of Who-ville in 2003 when my husband joined the Army. I have already experienced three deployments in that short time. I am not alone. My desire is to create a link between the civilian world and Who-ville. We in Who-ville need your support and encouragement. We are here! We are here!
Horton Hears a Who
Copyright 1954 Dr. Seuss
The inclusion of the resources on this website does not necessarily mean that I endorse these resources. I have done my best to include resources that would contribute to the ministry of this site in conjunction with my Statement of Faith. I reserve the right to monitor the content of this site, and regret that some recommended resources may not be accepted.