SMAC gets a boost from GE

"John, we thank you for being the initiator of this particular program, because it has really charged us with a nice opportunity to take your kind donation and grow it," said Steiner. "It is these kinds of donations that I think is recognizing what America is all about and recognizing the sacrifice of our military."

The Chamber so far has raised $3,000 toward its goal of a matching donation. People can also make a tax-deductible donation to the program.

Mark Junco, Lt. Commander of the Navy Operational Support Center in Schenectady, said the reserves are very different now from what they used be, because since 9/11 more reservists are being deployed overseas.

A reservist is required to drill one weekend a month, said Junco, so one of the weekends a Family Readiness Conference is held to help families prepare for deployment. During the conference, the benefits and resources that are available are explained to help get through deployment.

"There is a lot of key things that we take for granted that you don't realize you need. When you are by yourself, you realize you need it," said Junco.

During the conference, the children of families attending are also entertained while the training is given to spouses, parents and family members.

"Can you imagine me sitting in a classroom with my kids and trying to listen to someone that is giving me really important information and being able to retain it?" asked Junco. "With this money we could rent a bounce house or someone to come in and entertain the kids.""

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