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Deployed soldier appreciates spouse's support

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POSTED: May 3, 2010 2:00 p.m.
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Sgt. 1st Class Helen Foster, the non-commissioned officer in charge of human resources, Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, deployed to Tikrit, Iraq, poses next to her family photos.

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When soldiers are deployed their spouses often face new, challenging tasks, such as taking care of children and the household.
Sgt. 1st Class Helen Foster, the noncommissioned officer in charge of human resources, Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Stewart, recently reflected on her family back home in Apple Valley, Minn., as May 7, Spouse Appreciation Day, nears.
Her husband of 20 years, David Foster, has taken on many new responsibilities. Sgt. Foster makes a conscious effort to communicate with him whenever possible to thank him for his hard work.
“He always wants me to call, e-mail or Skype with him,” Foster said. “At the beginning part of the deployment, I was having a hard time doing that, only because I was wrapped up in work. I am getting a little bit better at (communicating), and I always thank him for what a great job he has been doing. I talk to him about three times a week on the phone, Skype two times a week and I’m trying to e-mail him every day.”
Expressing appreciation helps spouses juggle all the daily household tasks on their own.
David Foster is keeping things in order with the couple’s daughters, Kayla, 11, and Elisabeth, 18. This is the first time Sgt. Foster has been away from her family for an extended period of time, and her husband has had to learn new techniques to help him cope.
“Priorities,” Foster said. “I have to manage it all alone, and I keep it all smooth (by) setting priorities.”
The family’s neighbors, Becky and Marty Bonnell, also help Foster. The Bonnells frequently take Kayla to the movies or do “mother-daughter” activities in Sgt. Foster’s absence.
Balancing children, maintaining a full-time job as a warehouse supervisor, cooking dinner and making time to catch up with his wife consume Foster.
“There are a lot of role reversals after having been married for almost 20 years,” Sgt. Foster said. “He’s relied on me to do a lot of this stuff. He’s always let me handle the grocery shopping, or he does the outside housework while I did the inside housework.”
In preparation for her deployment, Foster taught her husband the basic skills needed to do her share of the chores. Online bill paying was one of a few important tasks transferred between the two of them.
Sgt. Foster said she realizes her spouse is plenty busy with kids, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, household shopping, mail, bills, yard work and a full-time job.
She has a newfound appreciation for her husband’s support and willingness to care for their family. “I would like to let my husband know that he is doing a terrific job taking care of everything,” the soldier said.
“I appreciate her support,” David Foster said. “I do everything I can to keep things running smooth so she can focus on her mission.”

 

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