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Families Share Stories of Loved Ones Lost on Active Duty

<p>Families from across Oklahoma gathered at Fort Sill Friday for a celebration of life. </p><p>Survivor Outreach Services hosted a picnic for Gold Star families. </p><p>Those are families who have lost a family member while on active duty.</p>

Families from across Oklahoma gathered at Fort Sill Friday for a celebration of life.

Survivor Outreach Services hosted a picnic for Gold Star families.

Those are families who have lost a family member while on active duty.

 Every Gold Star family member has a story of loss, and coming together provided them with great comfort. 

"It's awesome for us to be able to get together as families and just talk about our experiences," says Gold Star Wife Surana Prince.

They gathered to play games and enjoy the outdoors but gold star family member Vicky Flores says this event provides much more than that to those trying to heal from a loss.
 
"It's part of the healing process for me because you're not alone and if you really needed to talk to another gold star member you could do that," says Flores.

Vicky says being with other Gold Star members is comforting because they can help each other deal with the loss and pain.

"We understand each other better than, more than if I was to go to someone who hasn't been through it, sometimes they look at you like..it's been how many years..you need to get over it, just move on, well it's not that simple," says Flores.

Chrisy Schrock with survivor outreach services says it's important for Gold Star members to feel they aren't forgotten.

 "That's what it's all about, showing our survivors that we are here to support them," says Schrock.

Part of that support was decorating the park with one thousand gold stars...each star with a message of support sent in from the local communities.

Vicky says having support from the community doesn't bring back their loved ones, but it does help them know they are not alone.

"You don't just get over it and you don't just move on, you adapt and you do the best you can but you're still going to have that though it your head, it's a loss and it's always gonna be a loss.

The picnic ended with everyone writing special messages on cards tied to balloons. They released all the balloons together in honor of their fallen family members.

If you want to get involved with Gold Star families you can contact Survivor Outreach Services by calling (580) 442-4282.

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