Lawrence resident Ashley Urban says she has felt lost in the past when her husband, Capt. Josh Urban, was deployed with the Kansas National Guard.
In her hometown, Pittsburg, where many people knew her and her family, they would offer to help.
But living in a larger city and not on a military installation makes it tougher. Fewer people know what she’s trying to handle daily.
“If I’m feeling that way, I’m sure there are a lot of other military families feeling the same way,” she said.
Urban, who moved to Lawrence four years ago, is now seeking to make it easier for military families to find others in similar situations.
She started the Lawrence Military Family Support Group on Facebook to help set up a network for military spouses. Being able to pass along information and advice on how to get through tough times will be the main benefit.
“It’s nice to get kids all around other kids in the same situation as well,” said Urban, who has two boys, ages 3 and 1.
Stephanie Brown and her husband, Master Sgt. Chad Brown, who works with the Army ROTC at Kansas University, moved to Lawrence late last year after spending nine years at Fort Stewart in Georgia, where they had access to a large family support group.
“There isn’t a military presence as much. Finding families that are in the same area as you and going through the same things would be definitely beneficial,” said Stephanie Brown, who is also studying pre-nursing at KU.
The Brown family also has two boys ages, 11 and 7.
Urban was a major help to the Browns as they sought to get settled in Lawrence because she would give them tips about where to go for certain things in Lawrence.
“It definitely has made it feel easier that if I run into something, I have someone to ask,” Brown said.
Now they’re hoping the network can branch out to help other military families.
Urban hopes the support group can link military families with volunteers who could provide odd jobs when a spouse is deployed, such as yard work. It’s difficult for one parent to handle everything, she said.
“It’s just the simple things that you don’t have somebody there to help you with,” Urban said.
She also hopes the group could put together care packages to send to military members overseas.
Oftentimes, spouses just need someone to talk to who has been through a similar experience, though.
“It’s just a difficult time to get through,” Urban said. “It would just be helpful to get to know other families, not just for the spouse’s sake but for the kids’ sake as well.”