FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Military wives dealing with the stresses of Operation Iraqi Freedom are finding support in new ways. In fact, one group of Fort Bragg women found a way to make lifelong friendships practically overnight.
Heather Fredenburg had a hard time making friends when her husband was stationed at Fort Gordon. When they found out they were moving to Fort Bragg, she was determined not to go through a possible deployment alone.
Fredenburg started a memo board called Fort Bragg Friends. Other local military wives found her Web site quickly in search of the same thing.
"I think everyone needs at least 20 friends around them when their husband deploys," she said.
Friendships blossomed online and then in person. The group tries to meet at least once a week. Some events during the day can be small, but nightime events can be rather large.
"We have a recipe swap, tips for living," she said.
They now have 65 active members.
"Just to get a break and get out and have conversations with normal adults is a lifesaver when I'm taking care of Valerie (her daughter) all day," military wife Heather Mader said.
Before finding Fort Bragg Friends, Laurie Knockwood was having a hard time coping.
"On my way home from work, I'd burst out crying because I knew I was going home alone," she said.
Now, Knockwood said she is rarely ever alone.
"I'm really happy I found it," she said.
Fredenburg's husband never ended up leaving, but she said the support she found will last for many deployments to come.