For Immediate Release
November 20, 2004
For Information, contact Marilyn Peterson
Phone (888) 408-6824
Plano, Texas – A military spouse, parent or sibling often staggers from emotional stress when their loved ones are away from home and in harm’s way. To help ease their burden, a Web-based service called Operation Stephens Touch links those family members with a compassionate individual in their community who is trained to listen.
The Web site www.stephenstouch.org was launched in early 2004 by Marilyn Peterson, of Plano, Texas, to help family members grieving the loss of a military man or woman who died in service to the country. Recently, Ms. Peterson expanded the outreach. Upon receiving an Internet request from a woman distressed since her husband’s deployment to Iraq, Ms. Peterson decided to pair a listener with any family member who needs help dealing with separation due to military service.
“All family members have a tough job on the home front during a loved one’s absence,” says Ms. Peterson. “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.”
Ms. Peterson realized after her own husband’s death that talking candidly about her feelings to a Stephen Minister helped her through the grieving process. 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.
By contacting www.stephenstouch.org, spouses, adult siblings and parents of service personnel overseas or family members grieving the death of a service member are paired with a Stephen Minister in their community. If none is available in their community, listeners are arranged by telephone.