PORTLAND, Ore. --
The 142nd Wing Airman and Family Readiness Center officially opened its doors on November 8, 2020, at building 355 at the Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. A small ceremony was held over the October drill weekend to mark the occasion.
This move comes as the final step in the wing’s effort to build a robust, ready, and able Resiliency Team to serve the Airmen of the 142nd Wing.
After spending several years building up a Resiliency Team to help our 142nd Wing organization, finding a place to house all of its members became a bit of a challenge. The various team agencies had moved around so many times that it felt like a game of musical chairs. The different office spaces were simply not adequate enough to reach the staff and the Airmen’s needs. The 142nd Wing Command Chief, Chief Master Sergeant Brent Cavanias, worked closely with the team to find solutions but ultimately, the new 142nd Wing Commander, Col. David Unruh, made the decision to put the team in their own building.
“Active Duty already has designated centers for their Airmen,” said Cavanias. “We are trying to do the same.”
In the past, the wing had faced difficulties in maintaining a full-time family programs office. Unlike Active Duty Air Force and Air Reserve bases who maintain a full office of civilian and military staff at a dedicated center on their bases to support their Airmen, the guard, has faced challenges to manage helping its Airmen through a family program consisting of one civilian and sometimes if able, another military professional, to support a wing of around 1,400 people. This made it difficult to support Airmen and their families for any issues that cropped up. Now that the team has their own space to work out of together, they can pull their resources together to better focus on the wing members and the needs of their families.
“It’s the right thing to do, to take care of our families, and it is a direct correlation on readiness. If things are not going well at home, they’re probably not going to go well at work,” said Cavanias.
This Resiliency Team that was created a few years ago is comprised of: Family Programs, Yellow Ribbon, the Chaplain Corps, Department of Psychological Health (DPH), Sexual Assault and Resource Center (SARC), Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and even Personal Finance.
Although, the team was mostly located together in the wing headquarters building, no one knew where each office was within the building and where the rest of the team was located around base. Finding a designated space to hold all the agencies seemed to be impossible until the potential of building 355 was realized. Finding a building that could accommodate the Resiliency Team as a whole was a game changer according to Senior Master Sergeant Amy Almond-Schmid, who works as the 142nd Wing Family Program Manager and Human Resources Advisor (HRA).
“Being in the same building makes perfect sense for a resiliency center, having access to all of the resources in one place,” said Almond-Schmid, “And now we can easily point people in the right direction or just walk them over to the person they need.”
Relocating everyone to building 355, proved to be most helpful in bringing the team together for a more cohesive environment and will help reduce airmen’s time in finding individual agencies and hitting up different resources and information in one building.
“The team cohesion will really help support our airmen, show the base that leadership values these programs by creating a center for it, and aide in increasing our readiness capability in the future,” said Almond-Schmid.
Plans are under way on creating a general positive interaction between the Resiliency Team and its wing members overall. The team has been hard at work in creating a family friendly environment, holding various training events to offer new courses, hosting key volunteer meetings, and being a place for members to find volunteer opportunities to help their fellow Airmen.