2018-12-21 / Front Page

ALWAYS PART OF FAMILY

Fallen Servicemembers are remembered by loved ones
Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., left, commanding general, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, and his wife, Ann, visit with one of the several families honored at the Survivors Outreach Services Holiday Remembrance Ceremony, held Dec. 13 in Darling Hall. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., left, commanding general, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, and his wife, Ann, visit with one of the several families honored at the Survivors Outreach Services Holiday Remembrance Ceremony, held Dec. 13 in Darling Hall. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office The holiday season is often associated with being a time of celebration, making memories, and spending time with family. But for those missing a loved one, it can be a very difficult and lonesome time of year.

Fort Gordon Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) held its annual Holiday Remembrance Ceremony Dec. 13 in Darling Hall. The event is one of many ways the program reminds families and loved ones of fallen Servicemembers that they are not forgotten.

U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon Commander Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison, Jr., and Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Jim Clifford were among dozens of attendees.


Louise Heath, right, and Haider Aljubouri, Survivor Outreach Services coordinator, take a moment to honor Heath’s late husband, Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Jesse Heath, Jr. following the annual SOS Remembrance Ceremony held Dec. 13. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Louise Heath, right, and Haider Aljubouri, Survivor Outreach Services coordinator, take a moment to honor Heath’s late husband, Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Jesse Heath, Jr. following the annual SOS Remembrance Ceremony held Dec. 13. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Clifford, the event’s featured speaker, said it was an honor and privilege for him “to be in the company of those who the departed left behind,” while referring to survivors as the program’s honored guests.

“By having you here and sharing this day with you, it is my sincere hope, as we reflect on their sacrifices and their contributions, that we are paying proper tribute to your beloved Servicemember and your family,” Clifford said.

“There is no greater duty for those of us who remain in uniform than to ensure that you are taken care of and that you know you can come to us if you ever need assistance,” Clifford continued. “It’s why Survivor Outreach Services exist.”


U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon Commander Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison, Jr., and his wife, Ann, meet with a guest following the annual Fort Gordon Survivor Outreach Services Holiday Remembrance Ceremony held Dec. 13. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon Commander Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison, Jr., and his wife, Ann, meet with a guest following the annual Fort Gordon Survivor Outreach Services Holiday Remembrance Ceremony held Dec. 13. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office A Servicemember from each branch of service carried a holiday remembrance wreath to the front of the room as Melissa McKenzie, Atlanta Region SOS coordinator, recited a poem titled “The Wreath.”

“Let this wreath be a loving reminder that someone is missing today, someone our hearts still hold onto as we travel along life’s way … As we pause to remember, let us all fondly recall how dearly each of us loved them, and oh, how they loved us all,” McKenzie read.


Blythe resident Kenneth Screen visits with Lt. Col. Joseph Ko, deputy command chaplain for Fort Gordon, after the Dec. 13 Survivor Outreach Services event – the office’s annual gathering for the holiday season. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Blythe resident Kenneth Screen visits with Lt. Col. Joseph Ko, deputy command chaplain for Fort Gordon, after the Dec. 13 Survivor Outreach Services event – the office’s annual gathering for the holiday season. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Prior to the ceremony, survivors received a framed photograph of their deceased Servicemember. Following the poem’s reading, survivors were escorted by a military member to hang their photograph beneath one of 16 wreaths on display in the room.

At the back of the room, a special holiday tree adorned with 508 gold start ornaments became a focal point of the ceremony.

Laura Batule, Fort Gordon Army Community Service director, said that each ornament represents the 508 surviving family members SOS currently serves across the Central Savannah River Area. She went on to say that SOS provides assistance and support to family members for as long as they wish to stay connected. From short and long-term case management to grief counselors and local meet-ups, survivors do not have to be alone; especially during the holiday season.


A holiday remembrance tree is adorned with 508 gold star ornaments representing each of the surviving family members who live in the Central Savannah River Area and is served by Fort Gordon Survivor Outreach Services. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office A holiday remembrance tree is adorned with 508 gold star ornaments representing each of the surviving family members who live in the Central Savannah River Area and is served by Fort Gordon Survivor Outreach Services. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office “We are committed to ensuring they know they will always be part of our military family,” Batule said.

The remembrance tree was relocated to the Command Support Center (CSC) where it will remain on display through the holiday season.

Fort Gordon SOS is located in Room 320 at the CSC, 271 Heritage Park Lane. For more information about the program, contact Haider Aljubouri, SOS coordinator, at (706)791-3579, or stop by the office.



Col. Jim Clifford, Fort Gordon garrison commander, welcomes those attending to the Survivor Outreach Services Holiday Remembrance Ceremony, held Dec. 13 in Darling Hall. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Col. Jim Clifford, Fort Gordon garrison commander, welcomes those attending to the Survivor Outreach Services Holiday Remembrance Ceremony, held Dec. 13 in Darling Hall. Bill Bengtson / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

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