Military families in Buxton have formed a support group to help families with loved ones on deployment. The group met for the first time last month and plans to meet again this summer.

Jeanette Fernstrom and her brother, Keith Emery, founded the Buxton group. They have compiled a list of 31 men and women from Buxton serving in the military. Buxton’s population in 2005 was an estimated 8,163, according to the U.S. census Bureau.

One of the members of the group, Linda Gervais, has two daughters in the Air Force – Melissa Johnson, who has already served in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and Aleshi Gervais.

She hopes they don’t get deployed to Iraq. “But you never know,” Gervais said.

Buxton resident Star Link has two sons in the military, qualifying her as a Blue Star Mother, an organization for mothers who have children serving or who have served. One son, Anthony Hamel, is a crew member aboard an aircraft carrier that was in the Persian Gulf. She expects another son, Joseph Link, to be deployed with the Army to Iraq in July.

She described the feeling of having sons deployed as “awful, awful.”

“Every time the phone rings, you wonder,” she said. “We Blue Star moms cry alot.”

Joseph Link of Westbrook said his son, Joseph, who graduated boot camp in October, is assigned to special forces.

Thirty people attended the group’s initial meeting in February. Some families posted photos of uniformed loved ones on a bulletin board and signed cards, bearing the official town of Buxton seal, to be mailed.

Capt. Pamela Unger, a mother of three who is being deployed to Afghanistan in April, spoke along with a few moms, who shared their thoughts and fears about children serving in war.

Fernstrom’s daughter, Allison Fernstrom, is now at Fort Bragg, N.C., after duty in Balad, Iraq, last year. She is home now after visiting her daughter in North Carolina.

In last month’s support group meeting, Fernstrom spoke about her daughter accepting an invitation to dine with an Iraqi family. She knows little about her daughter’s duties in Iraq but she bought a map of Iraq to know where her daughter was serving.

Allison Fernstrom, who is in military intelligence, will be deployed to Afghanistan on July 3 for an 18-month tour.

Jeannette Fernstrom said the support group is planning to meet in June but hasn’t set a date yet. She is striving for a meeting date that could coincide with home leave for some of Buxton’s military. For more information, call Fernstrom at 929-8620.

Cutline (Afghan toddler) Buxton support group for military families.


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