Army Reserve family programs stronger than ever

by Kyle Flaugher
7th CSC Public Affairs intern

The Army Reserve Family Service Programs office of the 7th Civil Support Command started its 2011 family programs out strong with two new additions to the office: programs director James Mandley and Family Readiness Support assistant Merelle Rodriquez.

Mr. Mandley arrived in Europe just before Christmas after a 21-hour flight from Korea, where he served with the U.S. Joint Forces Command.
“I want to saturate the community with awareness of the family service programs, making it a one stop shop,” Mr. Mandley said.

For the last year, Family Programs Outreach assistant Patricia Boswell has been filling the shoes of the family programs director. She has covered down on the 7th CSC’s 22 units stationed across Germany and Italy, and the Soldiers’ families who are living throughout the European region. 

“It’s such a welcome to have James here,” Ms. Boswell said. “He has a wealth of knowledge in this field and the expertise to move family programs to new heights.”
Ms. Boswell explained how much time, commitment, dedication and compassion went into the job, but she likes working with the Soldiers and family members and keeping them informed. 

This “big job” entailed keeping the Family Readiness Group volunteers, and more importantly the family members, informed on command information and current events in the communities, as well as staying in constant contact with deployed Soldiers’ family members by e-mail and phone.  
“James and I have talked a lot, and he has a vision and goals, which I believe will solidify and strengthen the way we serve our families,” Ms. Boswell said.

Ms. Boswell was instrumental in coordinating the first Youth Leadership Education and Development Program in Europe for the Army Reserve youth family members. She provided goals and direction to the FRG volunteers, arranged and distributed a newsletter on monthly basis, and planned and coordinated numerous family and social events with the help of many 7th CSC family members.

Some of the people who assisted Ms. Boswell include Viola Cross, spouse of Staff Sgt. David Cross from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 457th Civil Affairs Battalion, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade; Shonda Siegel, spouse of Capt. Lawrence Siegel, who commanded Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 7th CSC; and Catherine Robinson, spouse of Capt. Major Robinson, who previously commanded the 1177th Movement Control Team, 406th Personnel Company, 209th Army Liaison Team.

Mrs. Robinson devoted many hours to the 1177th MCT Family Readiness Group and the 7th CSC’s family programs in numerous ways, not only through her husband’s deployment, but by continuously volunteering in the family programs, organizing and filing paperwork, sending care packages to deployed Army Reserve Soldiers, maintaining the file library and supporting family program events.

Upon her departure in early January, Mrs. Robinson was awarded a certificate of appreciation and presented with a plaque for her commitment and dedication to the 7th CSC. 

Ms. Boswell said she has recently been busy introducing Mr. Mandley and Ms. Rodriguez to the Family Readiness Group volunteers of each unit. Ms. Rodriquez is assigned to the Heidelberg, Kaiserslautern and Mannheim communities. Five more family programs team members are joining the 7th CSC team in the near future. When they arrive, they will be assigned to the remaining units in the 7th CSC’s European region.

“I am looking forward to helping the family members in my assigned areas including the KMC,” Ms. Rodriguez said.  “I’m already working with the Family Readiness Groups, and I invite everyone to become volunteers of the 7th CSC family programs.”

Ms. Rodriguez is originally from Honduras. She arrived from New Windsor, N.Y., where she worked family programs with the 411th Engineer Brigade for two years, and before family programs, Ms. Rodriguez, was a Spanish teacher for 11 years.  
“I feel very passionate about my work. I don’t want to leave this world without doing something for other people and working with the 7th CSC families allows me to see the impact our family programs can make,” Ms. Rodriquez said.  
To join or become a volunteer for the 7th CSC’s family programs, call 0631-411-4750 or e-mail