Board of Directors’ Message
November 19, 2018
Hello, my name is Greg Smith, and I am a member of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) Board of Directors, a proud parent of a child with autism, and a retired Air Force member.
I was on active duty when my daughter came into this world. She was born prematurely, and we were fortunate to have a lot of caring people provide immeasurable help at that time as my wife and I grappled with the many questions 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 to be 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 our military families face additional hardships 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 separation 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 have nothing but respect for 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 support our them with this updated publication, Life Journey through Autism: A Guide for Military Families and the associated website, Operation Autism. These resources are but small tokens of our support from the heart. The website and guidebook 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. In closing, I 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.”
Gregory L. Smith
Member, Board of Directors
Organization for Autism Research