Board of Directors' Message

Greg and QuinnBoard of Directors' Message
November 10, 2009


Hi, my name is Greg Smith, a member of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) Board of Directors, parent of a child with autism and retired Air Force member. I was asked at our last Board meeting if I would be interested in writing an item to go along with the launch of our military families’ Web site. It is with great pleasure that I write this message.

My daughter was born prematurely when I was on active duty and there were a lot of caring people that provided immeasurable help as my wife and I grappled with the many questions that we faced with our daughter’s issues. As I look back on those times, I feel very blessed. So, when I was asked if I would be interested in joining the Board of OAR, I saw it as an opportunity to give back a little of what I had been given in the way of support. OAR has afforded me the chance to fulfill my desire to give something back and for that I am very thankful. My involvement with OAR has allowed me to stay engaged in the broader autism community and in tune with the greater struggle faced by families dealing with this disorder. When I consider this disorder in light of my background, there is an extra special place in my heart for those who support and defend our country and our way of life.

We know there are additional hardships faced by our military families when it comes to dealing with this disorder. These hardships are manifested in many ways to include military members deploying which means in many cases, a spouse has to handle the many issues that arise on the “home front” on their own. There is the issue of separations from extended families which further highlights the need for additional support. In spite of these and other hardships, our military families keep getting up each day and doing the best they can to take care of their families. There is a strong “sense of duty” and focus. I am honored to have been a member of this honorable profession and the people who have served and those who are still serving.

Because of the sacrifices that our military families make on a regular basis, the Board is honored to see our organization launch this Web site in support of our military to accompany our publication, Life Journey through Autism: A Guide for Military Families. These efforts are but small tokens of our support to the military, but these efforts are from the heart. The Web site and companion publication are there for your use and the Board looks forward to your feedback on ways to make them even better. We salute your tenacity in dealing with not only autism, but dealing with this disorder along with the attendant military issues. OAR will continue to do what we can to support you and we greatly appreciate your service to country.

In closing, I must echo the sentiments expressed by our Executive Director, “thank you for your service to all the men and women serving in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard and all their reserve components today.”

Sincerely,

Gregory L. Smith

Member, Board of Directors
Organization for Autism Research