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A holiday season reminder

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Col. Thomas Sharpy, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, expands on one of the wing priorities - community. (Courtesy photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Col. Thomas Sharpy, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, expands on one of the wing priorities - community. (Courtesy photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Here at home base, the holiday season is a time of celebration, giving thanks, family gatherings and anticipation of a visit by that jolly ole elf.

Even at our many deployed locations, we have dedicated groups such as chaplains, first sergeants and services professionals, who will do everything possible to bring good cheer and celebration.

But amid the excitement and preparation, please do not forget that we are a nation at war. We need to ensure that we continue to support our deployed heroes and their loved ones.

Some of our families are alone for the first time during the holidays. Some of our Airmen will be deployed for the first time, away from wives, husbands, and little ones. Instead of explaining how Santa gets into a house with no chimney, they will be reassuring a sad little girl or boy that next year will be different.

These Airmen and their families back home are our responsibilities. We have to reach out and bring the families into the Team Fairchild fold. We must do this so our deployed Airmen can rest easier, knowing their families are not alone.

Team Fairchild reached out on Nov. 16 with a Deployed Spouses Dinner at the base chapel. The Italian-themed meal brought spouses and children of deployed Airmen together with others in a similar situation. It was awesome to see the contacts made, the support networks created and the smiles on children's faces.

Friday night, Operation Spokane Heroes is hosting a holiday party for the families of deployed military from throughout the Spokane area at the carousel in Riverfront Park. From 6 to 8 p.m. there will be free pizza, soft drinks, candy and of course, a visit from Santa Claus.

Our neighbors in the community are reaching out to our Airmen, offering friendship and support during a time of separation. Please make contact with the families of your deployed unit members. Let them know about the party. Take them if transportation is a problem. Do what you would want others to do for your family when you are deployed.

We have many excellent programs for our stay-at-home patriots. From the Airman and Family Readiness Center to our wonderful Phoenix Spouse group, help is available to the families that need it. That same help is also available to us, the Wingmen!

But first-class programs are useless if people don't know about them. It is our job as leaders to communicate and advertise what is available to our Airmen and their families. You don't have to know everything - just know the people who do.

Let's make this holiday season a joyful celebration. Be a good Wingman and don't let anyone suffer because we overlooked them. Reach out.