Walkers Show Support for Deployed Loved Ones

FORT CARSON, Colo. --

About 7,390 miles separate Fort Carson and Afghanistan. It’s about 5,863 miles from Fort Carson to Kosovo. Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, are deployed to both places.

To show support for their deployed loved ones, about 500 soldiers, family members and friends of the brigade participated in a “Walk to Kosovo/Afghanistan” June 15, attempting to collectively walk the number of miles that stand between them and the deployed soldiers -- about 13,250 miles -- during several events taking place over the length of the deployment.

Soldiers from the brigade are also taking part in their deployed locations.

“The Walk to Kosovo/Afghanistan is an opportunity for family members to come together and show their support for our deployed soldiers,” said Sandi Hillig, wife of Army Command Sgt. Maj. Anton Hillig. “It’s a great time for families to get out and enjoy the beautiful state we live in and make new friends along the way.”

Through the course of her 24-year marriage, Hillig said, she has been keen on finding ways to support her husband while he is deployed. Now a few months into the brigade’s deployment, she said, the Walk to Kosovo/Afghanistan made coping without her spouse easier.

“For me, it’s being surrounded by so many other spouses who are going through the same thing and just knowing we are not alone in this,” Hillig said. “Deployments are tough. Whether it’s your first or 10th deployment, it isn’t easy.”

Each battalion in the 2nd IBCT is assigned a family readiness liaison who leads the family readiness program, which helps families stay connected with their deployed soldiers.

“Families and soldiers walking side by side as one cohesive unit [creates] a gigantic support system for everyone involved,” said Army 1st Lt. Amanda Wood, the family readiness liaison for the 52nd Brigade Engineer Battalion. “The support that comes from [being] together gives people the chance to talk to others going through similar obstacles.”

During the walk, 2nd IBCT soldiers and families interacted with each other outside of work.

“It is a way for soldiers to build morale and feel connected with deployed members of the team,” Wood said.