BARRETT TOWNSHIP — Coming home from war in time for the holidays sounds like something out of a movie, but the reality for returning soldiers isn’t always perfect.
Newswatch 16’s Suzanne Goldklang visited Monroe County on Sunday to learn about a program that helps military families find a happy ending.
Candice McDaniel gave birth to 10-month-old Ava Mae two days before her husband returned from Afghanistan.
“The hardest thing for me was him not being there for doctor’s appointments, obviously not being there for the birth, then having to care for a newborn, essentially by myself,” said McDaniel.
Those are just a few of the challenges 1st Lieutenant Joseph McDaniel and his family tackle.
This weekend they came all the way from Georgia to Skytop Lodge in Monroe County so they could participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
The Army Reserve brings families to the Barrett Township resort from across the country, providing a comfortable setting so families can learn about how to prevent and cope with some of the issues many veterans face when they come home from war.
At one of the breakout sessions Wilkes-Barre VA social worker Patricia Conroy spoke to a group about intimate partner violence.
She said one cause can be traumatic brain injury, which can trigger headaches, irritability, and anger management issues.
The Yellow Ribbon Program also aims to show veterans that when it comes to education and employment, the future can be bright. “Community partners” with display tables included the Pennsylvania State Police and universities looking to recruit GI’s.
“To be able to make sure they get out of their lives, because of what they contributed to our society,” said Tim Snapp, Military Outreach Manager of Bellvue University.
Lt. McDaniel said the Yellow Ribbon Program has helped him in many ways, allowing him to serve his country and have a happy home.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better wife.” He adds,”We’ve been getting closer since I have been home.