Military Families Should Not Face Separation or Loss Alone says Operation Stephen's Touch

To: National Desk

Contact: Marilyn Peterson, founder of Operations Stephen's Touch, 888-408-6824, mapeterson9700@yahoo.com

PLANO, Texas, Nov. 3 /Christian Wire Service/ -- On Veteran's Day our nation remembers the sacrifices made by the men and women of our military. A Texas based ministry is hoping to use this time to also remind us of the ongoing sacrifices made by military spouses, parents and siblings, many of whom quietly suffer from emotional stress.

After her husband's death, Marilyn Peterson realized that talking candidly about her feelings to a trained listener would have significantly helped her through the grieving process. In 2004 she founded Operation Stephen's Touch to help family members grieving the loss of a military man or woman who died in service to the country. The group puts military family members in touch with a compassionate person in their community who is trained to listen.

In 2005, Operation Stephen's Touch expanded to pair a listener with any family member who needs help dealing with separation due to military service. "Stephen Ministers" are laypersons trained to listen to people in crisis who want a neutral confidante. About 8,000 churches nationwide representing 100 denominations use Stephen Ministers.

Peterson states, "All family members have a tough job on the home front during a loved one's absence. Sometimes talking about their emotions to a neutral, compassionate listener gives them the strength they need to take care of themselves and others who rely on them.

"This Veteran's Day as we remember the sacrifices made by the men and women of our military we also want to remind the nation of the ongoing sacrifices made by military spouses, parents and siblings, and offer them the help and compassion of listening to them.

"If you know a spouses, adult siblings or parent of service member overseas or of family members grieving the death of a service member, please encourage them to contact Operation Stephen's Touch to be paired with a Stephen Minister in their community. If none is available locally, listeners will be arranged by telephone."

More details on Operations Stephen's Touch are available online at www.stephenstouch.org or by calling 888-408-6824


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