Military Family Retreat at Camp Okoboji!

Operation Barnabas is hosting a Military Family Retreat at Camp Okoboji, September 21 – 23. This retreat is for all military families who have recently had a family member return from deployment. It is designed for couples and their children with sessions lead by Military Chaplains, children’s activities, and free time.  Be sure to bring weather appropriate clothing, fishing supplies, camp has canoes, sand volleyball, basketball, and other recreational equipment.


Camp Okoboji contact: Lori Gamble- 712-337-3325 (office), 712-320-3364 (cell)
Retreat Leader: Matt Warnke (USN Retired Chaplain)
Presenter: Andy Carlson (Former Navy Chaplain)

Costs—payment due with registration
Families will be responsible for travel expenses to Camp Okoboji and Friday night Dinner.
Retreat Fee: $100 per couple, $25 per child (3-18), Single person $50, Ages 0-2 (Free)

Click here for registration form and more info: 2012 Military Family Retreat.

Free Tickets and Private Tailgate for Siouxland Veterans and Military Families!

Thrivent Financial and Support Siouxland Soldiers are giving away 100 free tickets to Military Families and Veterans for the July 3rd Explorer’s game and fireworks show.Your tickets gain you entrance into a Free, private tailgate party, catered by HyVee, at 5:30 p.m. in the Explorer’s parking lot. Game starts at 7:05 p.m. Seating is limited, first come, first serve, please email to receive up to 4 free tickets per family.

If you would like to volunteer for this event, please email us for details.

Happy Armed Forces Day!!

Thank you to everyone who joined us in honoring our Siouxland Service Members today! We packed care-packages for our Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota deployed Troops! Thank you to our event sponsors: Cubby’s Convenience Store, Cenex, Bimbo Bakeries, Pepsi and CNOS.

Armed Forces Day, Saturday May 19th
Cubby’s Convenience Story (in front of Sam’s Club)
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
$3.00 Lunch: Grilled hotdogs, chips and water
Pack a care-package or donate items to be sent to our deployed Troops
Games and prizes for the kids!
Purchase a $5 raffle ticket to win one of ten $50 gas cards!!
All proceeds will benefit Support Siouxland Soldiers.

Support Siouxland Soldiers is a community non-profit (501c3) organization whose mission is to support members of the Armed Forces, past and present, their families and the Siouxland community. The primary means of our mission is to send packages to deployed military personnel and partnering with Siouxland businesses, schools, churches and organizations to bring support to the four thousand – plus members of the Armed Forces and military families of the Siouxland area.

Douangdara Memorial War Dog Park Fundraiser – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Douangdara Memorial War Dog Park Fundraiser – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

There’s a fundraiser Thursday night for the John Douangdara Memorial War Dog Park.

The dog park is being built in honor of Douangdara because he was a dog handler.

Douangdara was killed in Afghanistan back in August.

Support Siouxland Soldiers is putting on this fundraiser Thursday from 6:00-9:00p.m. at Eldon’s.

And they’ll donate all of the proceeds to the War Dog Memorial.

If you want to give an item for the soldiers holiday care packages then Eldon’s will give you 10 percent off your food order.

Military Families Pack Boxes For Soldiers – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Military Families Pack Boxes For Soldiers – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Close to 3,000 Iowa National Guard soldiers are serving our country in Afghanistan as we speak. And once again, their friends and families are back at it packing boxes full of love and supporting each other in the process.

Military families gathered at the National Guard Armory in Sioux City with one goal in mind: To send their loved ones overseas a reminder of how much they’re missed. From sweet treats to personal care products. Everything inside was packed with love and care.

“It makes me feel like I’m supporting his efforts while he’s oversees and then when he gets the box it’s like a little piece from home that reminds him that there are people at home that care about him,” said Susane Kabisch, the wife of a soldier.

“I want him to think of us and how great of a family we are,” said Mason Mackey, who’s brother is in Afghanistan.

While this event produced boxes of support for our soldiers, it also served as a support system for families right here in Siouxland.

“When we come to events like this where there are other family members who are going though the same things that we are during the deployment it’s very comforting and uplifting to come together and work for the common good,” said Kabisch.

Showing that a little can travel far and keep loved one’s close to heart.

Find us on Facebook: Support Siouxland Soldiers

Col. Bud Day Speaks Out On Behalf of Veterans’ Services – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Col. Bud Day Speaks Out On Behalf of Veterans’ Services – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Soldiers can see horrific things on the battlefield. But unfortunately, for many, the nightmares don’t end when they come home. For some, it’s a life-threatening situation, that nobody seemed to want to talk about. Until now.

Col. Bud Day, the most decorated living Air Force veteran and Sioux City native, has released a PSA in support of veterans’ services. “The tools and resources are there now. Please make use of them. Stay strong and don’t let the enemy defeat you at home,” an excerpt from the PSA.

The stigma behind veterans services has many origins. But one reason many choose not to seek help: fear it could cost them their career.

Lori Risdal is the manager of the Air Men & Families Program and says, “It’s always better to get the help and assistance that you need because if it’s going to affect your career, it’s going to be because you haven’t got the help that you need.”

Sioux City is home to numerous programs for veterans and their families. For example, Military One Source is a confidential free, 24-hour hotline. Sioux City has a military family life consultant who plans weekend retreats and couples counseling. And Wingman, a new peer-on-peer initiative with the air force that trains active members to support fellow soldiers when the duty gets to be too much.

Risdal says, “Sometimes we can get help through the families because they’re the ones who see everything and we’re not aware of it.” The veteran’s return is a family affair. Everyone needs to adjust.

And believe it or not, sometimes it’s just the new presence that takes some getting used to.

“That integration process when he gets home and kind of going back into the role of just the wife, instead of doing everything for the household, says Sarah Petersen, an army wife. Petersen’s husband, Shawn, is on a one year deployment to Afghanistan.

In addition to being a military wife, petersen doubles as one of the co-founders of Support Siouxland Soldiers, a group dedicated to veterans services on a local level.

Support Siouxland Soldiers is sponsoring a care package event on January 15th at the 113th National Guard Armory. Show up at 2pm for the public package-making or 1pm if you have a special soldier who you think deserves a care package.

Family Puts Up Over 20,000 Lights for Holiday Display. – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Family Puts Up Over 20,000 Lights for Holiday Display. – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

It’s the third year in a row the Wilmes family has put on their spectacular holiday light show. The entire display has well over 20,000 lights, and every year, the lights are synched to music. This year it’s a medley of all your favorite holiday classics that you can hear on 106.5.

“We just love it. People in our neighborhood, our neighbors come out and we all stand on the side walk, turn on our cars, our radios and we all stand there and dance to the music,” Pam Wilmes, homeowner.

The whole thing starts right on the computer. Matt Wilmes uses an excel-type program to synchronize the lights with the music. And according to Wilmse, that’s the easy part.

“The twenty-five minute show that we have this year it’s a minimum of a hundred hours of sequencing every minute takes about 2-3 hours,” said Wilmes.

The hardest part, actually finding the time to put up the lights. But when it comes down to it, Wilmes says its not about time or money, it’s about giving back and honoring his father who passed away several years ago.

“My dad I felt was a good man and one of the things he instilled in me was to give back, and that’s what I’m doing,” said Wilmes.

And while these lights turned on for the first time only a couple days ago, Wilmes is already thinking about next year.

The Wilmes’ welcome everyone to come out and see the holiday light show, that runs now through January 2nd. This year, any donations the family receives will go to Support Siouxland Soldiers. There is a donation box in the shape of a candy cane out in front of the house.

The address is 4026 Capitol Street in Sioux City.

Adopt a Military Child for Christmas – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Adopt a Military Child for Christmas – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Adopt a Military Child for Christmas

Times are tough, especially for our young Military families. Many military children wake up with few gifts on Christmas morning because their families are struggling to make ends meet.  Our Military families have set aside their own priorities for the priority of our Country. But for so many of these heroic families the holidays can be a disappointing time…especially for families of troops deployed over Christmas.

So, in addition to the care packages that we send to the troops, Support Siouxland Soldiers is continuing their special project to say thank you to the military families for their sacrifice by helping provide Christmas gifts for their children. Please help us to say “Thank you” and join our ‘Adopt a Military Child’ Christmas program.

How can you help? As you are shopping for your family pick up a couple presents for our Siouxland Military children of all ages.  Then call Sarah at 712-541-8020 or email and we will come pick up your gifts or meet you somewhere. Gifts can also be dropped off at the National Guard Armory. See directions below. We will then invite the parents to come pick out the gifts for their children. The parents can wrap them and place them under the tree just in time for Christmas morning!

If you are a Military Family in need of some extra support this holiday season please email Sarah at Please include the first name and ages of your children and a copy of your DD214 or military ID. Thank you.

Army National Guard
3200 2nd Mech Drive
Sioux City, IA 51111-1348
(712) 277-6720

1. Take the Sergeant Bluff exit coming from Sioux City, EXIT 141
2. Turn RIGHT towards the Airport onto 1ST ST
3. 1ST ST / CR-D38 W becomes ODESSA AVE.
4. Before you enter the Airport area, Take your first LEFT onto HALSEY
5. Take your first left onto OGDEN AVE
6. Turn RIGHT onto HARBOR DR.
7. On Harbor Dr. you will drive past the 185th Air Guard entrance on your right, keep going straight, you will take a left at the Iowa National Guard Armory.

Please email
Or Call Sarah at 712-541-8020

Letting Soldier’s Know You Care This Holiday Season – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Letting Soldier’s Know You Care This Holiday Season – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Support Siouxland Soldiers held it’s 4th Holiday Care Package event on Saturday. Families and friends filled up box after box for their loved ones overseas. There were different stations to pick from, with things like toothpaste, socks, holiday cards and candy.

One mom was making a care package for her 21-year old son who serves in the U.S. Navy and is currently in Afghanistan.

“He said anytime he gets a box it feels like Christmas. He never know what’s going to be in it, so it’s always a surprise and they just really really just appreciate anything that comes over there.”

Support Siouxland Soliders provides everything families need to make the care package, all you need it your soldier’s address. It takes about 3 weeks for the soldiers to get their holiday surprise.

Families Prepare For Soldiers’ Homecoming – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Families Prepare For Soldiers’ Homecoming – News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

About 100 volunteers toughed out the heat, to make sure their loved ones feel welcome when they return from Afghanistan.

More than 3,000 Iowa soldiers went overseas last year, but they will be home by the end of July.

“It’s been up and down, you don’t hear from him, technology nowadays, you don’t hear for 10 days you freak out, you think it’s a long time, but think of the old days, that really wasn’t that long,” said Patrick McKeever, who’s son is in the 113th Cavalry in Afghanistan.

People worked through the summer sun, to make sure the soldiers feel welcomed.

“It’s really important for the troops to see that their community missed them, and supports them, and that we are really proud of them, and we’re just really glad that they’re home safe,” said Sarah Petersen, from Support Siouxland Soldiers.

The families don’t know the exact date their loved ones will return, but they can’t wait for that day to arrive.

“His mom, brother, and sister, and all his family together and just enjoy it.  I’m leaving July 30th to go out of the country, so I’m praying he gets back by then,” said McKeever.

The families say they usually don’t find out when the soldiers come home until about 48 hours beforehand.