Being a good Wingman for families

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The holidays are just around the corner and many of us are looking forward to reuniting with friends and family to celebrate. Now more than ever it is important that we are also good Wingmen to the families of our Airmen serving overseas.

Family Readiness
An important ingredient of family readiness is supporting families with Airmen deployed. Our team at the Airman and Family Readiness Center has numerous resources and programs available to assist families during the holiday season.

The AFRC offers internet access, e-mail services, and a "quick cam" for video e-mail, allowing users to record a quick message and attach the clip to an e-mail. When I was deployed earlier this year, Rhonda sent me several of these videos, and it was great to see a face from home while deployed. My girls showed me their new haircuts and Easter dresses in near-real time!

In the "Hearts Apart" morale call program, spouses of deployed Airmen get one free 15-minute phone call each week at the AFRC.

Another great opportunity is the "Give Parents a Break" program, offering four hours of free child care one Saturday a month for the duration of a spouse's deployment. Vouchers are available from unit first sergeants.

Besides the AFRC, the great team at Life Skills and the Fairchild Chapel are also available to provide emotional and spiritual assistance to families of deployed Airmen.
Our team of commanders, first sergeants and Phoenix Spouses are also here to assist families. They can assist with financial or medical issues and are also available to help in the event of a crisis. I encourage families with a deployed spouse to get involved in base activities. The more contacts you have, the larger your support network will be, increasing your circle of helping hands in times of need.

Community Support
The Spokane community also recognizes the importance of supporting the families of deployed servicemembers.

On Dec. 1, Operation Spokane Heroes held an event at Riverfront Park for children of deployed servicemembers serving in all branches of the military as well as the families of those recently returned from deployment. Santa arrived on a U.S. Army tank, accompanied by a representative from each of the service branches. The children were treated to hot chocolate, treats, and free carousel rides. It was a great event!

Additionally, this week Operation Spokane Heroes and the Kalispel Tribe teamed up to donate 500 holiday baskets for military families with a deployed spouse. Volunteers built the baskets at the Deel Community Center on Wednesday and they were presented to me and military leaders from other service branches in a ceremony Thursday afternoon.

I would like to thank those two organizations for their tremendous continued support of our men and women in uniform.

With the holidays fast approaching, I urge you to be safe, have fun, and be good Wingmen to each other. I salute the families of our deployed Airmen for your dedication and patriotic support of your loved ones.

The Fairchild Community -
Teaming to take care of families