Des Moines Register 01-04-07 Military families need support between send-offs Iowa National Guard Major Shannon Richardson, stationed in Iraq, told Register columnist John Carlson that "if people want to do something for us, they should do something to help our families back home. They are really the unsung heroes." We are good at send-offs, homecomings and putting magnetic yellow ribbons on our cars, but deployment impacts military families 24/7 for up to 18 months at a time. Military families need their communities' support throughout the deployment cycle, even after their soldier returns home as the soldier tries to reintegrate. Iowa State University Extension is assisting communities in supporting military families through the "Operation: Military Kids" project. To volunteer to build a network of support for military families in your community, contact your county Extension office. - Chris Gleason, project director, Operation: Military Kids, Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development program, Ames.