Free Program For East Texas Iraq-Afghanistan Deployment

Last month, the American Red Cross announced it had received grant money to help East Texans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  That program, called ETRIAD, is now in full swing, but they are still looking for people to help.

"It was hard because I am a single parent," said Linda Warren.  Getting through the day while her son Germane was serving in Iraq, Warren, who lives in Tyler, says was a challenge every single day.

"The first step is to get your mind straight you know, so you can think straight and this has been a great avenue in helping me," said Warren.  She's talking about the Andrews Center's new ETRIAD Program, which stands for East Texas Resources for Iraq-Afghanistan Deployment.  It's a free service not only for families like Warren's, but for the soldiers themselves. It offers things like post-traumatic stress and substance abuse counseling - help that is very close to Waymon Stewart who helped start the program.

"I think when we come back from Iraq, we don't really get a lot of attention paid to us about the stresses that we were under, or the stresses their families went through while they are back here," said Andrews Center CEO Waymon Stewart who served in Iraq.  "Just myself when I returned I didn't realize my wife was under such great stress and now these programs are here for family members."  Warren says it has been nice to have someone to talk to.

"It's been very helpful in keeping my mind set on where it needs to be and help focus on things that I need to focus on," said Warren.  Like her son, who is now home safe from Iraq.

The Andrews Center is partnering with the American Red Cross.  Mustard Seed Ministries is also offering free services.  For more information, or how you can get help, contact the Smith County Red Cross.

Molly Reuter, Reporting.