FORT LEE, Va. -- OK, students at Fort Lee; let’s talk about your parents and partners back home because they are definitely talking about you.

That’s right, we’re getting an earful from moms, dads and spouses across the country, and to be honest, we’re a little worried about your safety if you don’t relieve their stress over matters like Holiday Block Leave travel plans.

The daily deluge of distraught dialogue during December can be daunting for us PAO types: “When are they coming home? How are they coming home? Why aren’t they coming home? Can I pick them up? Will they be able to buy tickets? Where are they getting the money? Who’s taking them to the airport?”

You get the idea.

We live in an amazing era of smartphones, social media platforms and video communication apps; yet many parents, spouses and significant others seem to be experiencing an information blackout that has them calling into the darkness, “Am I not entitled to even a few meager details?” (Nice bit of drama, there, don’t you think?)

Now is the time to stand up, brave warriors. Give your loved ones the gift of gab this holiday season. Relieve their out-of-control worries that you’re being held hostage at Fort Lee. Even a five-minute phone call or concisely worded text message with the pertinent travel details will put your loved ones’ minds at ease and reduce possible confusion during the trip home or when returning to the installation after the block leave period is over. The courtesy heads up also will prompt mom and dad to put your old room back in order, since they likely converted it into an office or entertainment lounge after you left for basic training.

Seriously though, the whole block leave process goes much smoother with thorough communication. Even if you’re staying here over the Christmas break, help your loved ones understand why – whether it’s due to not enough leave, money or other factors. They can rest assured also that life in the no-block-leave company will have plenty of entertaining moments thanks to creative cadre and the support of Family and MWR, the USO and other agencies. In past years, the activities have ranged from trips to basketball games and amusement centers to movie and game nights, and more.

While on the subject of communication, there’s one additional thing HBL Soldiers can do for their Army. Talk to family and friends about the positive things you’ve experienced. Change the perception that enlisting in the military is a last-chance career option. Mention the quality of your schooling, the emphasis on professional credentialing, the focus on diversity and personal resiliency, the challenges you overcame with teamwork and the determination to not let down your battle buddies. You’re growing and learning to be a leader here, Soldier, pass that along.

The Fort Lee Traveller and Garrison PAO team extends its wishes for a happy holiday season. Thank you for what you do for our Army every day.