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Resilient in Romania: Soldiers have resources to deal with deployment stress

By Story by Staff Sgt. Kris Bonet | American Red Cross | Feb. 20, 2019

MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania —

The U.S. Army has a commitment to the health and welfare of its Soldiers through the programs offered to take care of the mental readiness of the troops. Whether at home or overseas, Soldiers must not only be physically fit but also must take care of their mental well-being.

Incoming personnel at all Army bases and theaters around the world are briefed on the availability of these resources as soon as they arrive.

The Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces provides humanitarian support to service members, veterans, Department of Defense civilians and their families. It is also mandated by Congress to verify an emergency for a Soldier and provide emergency communications.

Antoinette Williams is the American Red Cross site lead for Camp Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania and Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria. She assists service members with emergency communications and provides resiliency opportunities.

“I enjoy most that I can communicate with them without being a supervisor,” said Williams. “We talk openly about things that interest them as well as some of the struggles they may encounter during their military service. I am a non-threatening resource.”

Williams is a retired Airman who has been in some of the same situations as the deployed Soldiers that she assists.

“I have been the recipient of emergency messages and I remember how it felt to have someone assist me during the difficult days that followed,” Williams said. “I have no choice but to care about this generation of heroes.”

Another asset available to Soldiers deployed to the Black Sea area is the Military and Family Life Counseling Program. This program provides non-medical, short-term, situational problem-solving counseling to Soldiers and their families.

Virginia Novak is the current MFLC licensed clinical social worker available to assist Soldiers with their needs at Mihail Kogalniceanu.

The MFLC provides counseling to service members so that they can develop life skills such as anger management, communication, resolving of relationship issues, parenting, conflict resolution, and homesickness. Information provided to a MFLC counselor is kept confidential, except to meet legal obligations or to prevent harm to self or others.

Antoinette Williams can be reached at building 1305B, DSN number 656-5100.Virginia Novak can be reached at building 7106, telephone number +40-729-449-265.