An Iowa National Guard support group has won a national “Family Readiness Award” from the U.S. Department of Defense. Deb Davis is the wife of a soldier and a member of the “Keepers of the Flame” group in Carroll. She says Keepers of the Flame is a state-chartered “Family Readiness Group” of the Iowa National Guard, and their group represents Company A, First Battalion of the 168th Infantry. She says they became a very active group sometime in 2003 when the soldiers were slated to go to Kuwait for a sixth month mission, but that got canceled. The soldiers were eventually sent to Afghanistan in February of 2004. Davis says the group is important to the soldiers. She says, “Family readiness and mission readiness go hand-in-hand. If we did not have families who were ready at home, our soldiers would be over there worried about us and not concentrating on their mission. So, by them knowing we have a readiness group that is close, that is supportive to each other, our soldiers then know they don’t have to worry about us, they can worry about their job over there.” Davis says the group does many things to support each other. She says they meet monthly at the armory and put out a monthly newsletter to educate families about the guard and keep them informed. She says they have families with troops deployed and families that don’t have soldiers deployed that participate. Davis says they try to bring in experts who can help the families. She says as they get closer to the end of their tour, they bring in speakers that talk about how soldiers can transition back to their jobs, and when soldiers are getting ready to leave, they bring in speakers to talk about separation. Davis says the group was surprised to learn they’d been honored. She says, “It was a tremendous honor, we did not know we were nominated.” Davis says they have wonderful families that care about the guard, care about each other and care about the soldiers and that’s what makes it work. Davis is anxiously awaiting a phone call from her husband as he’s expected to learn soon about when he’ll return from his tour in Afghanistan.
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