Survivor Outreach Services extends open arms to surviving families

Kerri Schmitt, Survivor Outreach Services coordinator, left, accepting a thank you gift from Goldstar Mother, Mary Aguirre-Garza, at the Goldstar Mothers and Families Recognition at the Armstrong Club, Sep. 23.

Survivor Outreach Services hosted the Goldstar Mothers and Families Day recognition Sept. 23 at the Armstrong’s Club to honor Gold Star mothers and immediate family members of service members who died while on active duty status.

U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Commander Col. Reid Furman addressed the surviving Families of fallen Soldiers and recognized Goldstar Mother, Mary Aguirre-Garza, along with survivors Thomas Bailey, Samantha Brokaw and children, Brigitte Cook, Tanja Lanier and Eleanor Prohaska.

More on Mary’s story on her journey as a Goldstar Mother can be found here:

In addition to the event, Survivor Outreach Services — an army wide program established in 2008 — provides long-term support to surviving Families of fallen Soldiers. “After a loved one dies, many grieving survivors are not able to process or remember all the information that is given to them in regards to their benefits and the countless tasks they need to do,” said Kerri Schmitt, Survivor Outreach Services coordinator. “SOS is considered long-term support because we continue to be a part of their lives,” she added.

Monthly support meetings held on the second Friday of every month, referral services, financial counseling and benefit coordination are all part of the resources Survivor Outreach provides.

“We believe it is important to connect survivors in our community so they can help each other in their various stages of grief. Walking this road alone is a very lonely process and can significantly impact the survivor’s mental health,” said Schmitt. 

Survivor Outreach Service is located near the survivor’s residence in order to continue to have the support that is needed. Should the survivor relocate, it is the SOS coordinator’s duty to contact the nearest SOS closest to the survivor’s new residence to ensure a smooth transition and continued service. 

“Having that reassurance that someone is there for you when you are grieving is priceless. SOS and Casualty Affairs work hand in hand to ensure that the fallen Soldiers surviving family members are taken care of. We try to eliminate any unneeded stressors, so the surviving family members can focus on healing,” added Schmitt.

Survivor Outreach Service falls under Army Community Service, which is located on Kleber Kaserne in building 3210. You can also reach SOS at (0)611-143-541-900 or DSN (314) 541-9000.