News: Mother, daughter team up at dining facility
Story by Staff Sgt. Regina Machine
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Deploying with a family member can ease the stress of being away from home. For two service members, being deployed with a family member serves as a recipe for a successful deployment.
Mother, Spc. Theresa Stoner, and daughter, Spc. Crystal Stoner, food service specialists assigned to 230th Engineer Battalion, Tennessee National Guard, and natives of Camden, Tenn., work together at the dining facility here.
The Stoners are no strangers to deployment. Crystal’s dad, an infantryman, had just returned from a yearlong tour to Iraq the summer of 2010. They spent two weeks together before Crystal left for her six-month advanced individual training.
Crystal, who has dreams of being a personal chef one day, was in AIT when her mother informed her they would be deploying together to Kuwait. Crystal graduated December 2010.
“It was during one of those five minute phone conversations,” explained Crystal, “and I said ‘Oh that’s cool.’”
Theresa had doubts initially about the both of them being deployed together.
“At first, I had to admit it scared me,” Theresa stated, “but now I don’t know how I could do this without her. She keeps me balanced. I have this sense of family here.”
Crystal also acknowledged the importance of deploying with family. She recently volunteered to join her brother on his upcoming deployment next year.
“I am young and single with no dependents, and I know my brother,” Crystal said. “I want to be there for him.”
Theresa reflected on her daughter’s decision to deploy with her brother next year. “Deployments are always rough, and it helps to have a family member around and to have someone volunteer to go really takes the edge off.”
For Crystal, being deployed with your mom also comes with challenges.
“Because I am the child, sometimes people will say to me you have your mom here and give me a hard time when I go out to the movies,” Crystal jokes. “Once the movie is over, my friends ask me if I need to get back home to my mom.”
There is also an issue of not having enough time to spend with each other. They work different shifts, and at times, they only see each other long enough to say goodnight.
“Because I have a family member with me during this deployment, I want to make time for her,” added Crystal. “But there are time restraints because we work two different shifts, and I take online courses. We see each other one full day a week.”
Thoughts do drift to home often, and Theresa knows now her husband truly understands what it is like to be at home and vice versa.
“I just appreciate all of the support,” stated Theresa. “My husband is doing such a great job with the kids; it amazes me. I did not realize he could take on my responsibilities at home as well as he has. He understands me a little bit better, I think, because he has to do what I did all those years. He’s taken to the role of being the sole-caregiver, and I am proud of him.”
The Stoner family has taken the opportunity to serve Americans to a new level. Crystal and Theresa help strengthen Third Army and subordinate commands by ensuring they receive the nutritional strength to sustain the fight. Their support in food service helps ensure everyone receives the support they need to continue their missions.