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142nd Fighter Wing
142nd Fighter Wing
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Family Readiness Resource Center
The 142nd Fighter Wing established their Family Resource Center in 2003, bringing support for families to the forefront of mission readiness. It is staffed by one full time paid staff member and volunteers from each unit who maintain contact with the Wing military families. Since the 142nd and the Combat Operations Groups are manned by guard members who live throughout Oregon and Southern Washington, the dissemination of important information relative to families is both necessary and difficult because of geography. To overcome this obstacle, unit volunteers work closely with unit Commanders to use the unit bulletins and other means as an information conduit.
A fully stocked Resource Center is located in Bldg. 142 and has information on deployment preparation, reintegration upon return, career/resume help, child/youth development, investing and more. These resources are in print, DVDs/CDs and on websites. There is a computer dedicated for use by families with plans to make it available to Skype to stay connected during deployments.
Our Guard members do not usually deploy as a unit but rather as individuals or small groups. Family worry that their Guard member will not be as safe because they are not with people they know, increasing the stress for our families. Family Program works hard to build stronger families who can withstand these deployments and continue to function when their guard member is away. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a base and volunteers to hug a deployed family.
The military takes care of the guard member and Family Program takes care of the families. It's that simple but very complicated. Our families are disconnected from the military because there is no active duty base in Oregon from which to bond. Our families and dependent children are mainstreamed and therefore invisible. It is the mission of Family Program to bring information and programs to our families that connect and inform them. Websites include the EAP (employee assistance program) www.militaryonesource.com and the JSS (Joint Services Support) www.jointservicessupport.org provide on line learning, event notification and community resources. Our families need to be self reliant, resilient and resourceful . Other on-line resources include Tricare, Met Life Dental, VA/ODVA, and ESGR (Employer Support of Guard/Reserves) to name a few. On base are the Legal Office and Chaplains who are drill status offices and not manned through the month necessitating using other branches of service support systems.
Co-located in Bldg. 142 with Legal, Chaplains, and Headquarters Leadership. It is a vital link to mission support and mission readiness and when a guard member is deployed, his/her family is deployed also and should have the tools and training to get through the time fully prepared as does the guard member and that's the role of the Family Program.
Volunteers are the life blood of the Family Program office. There are in excess of 1,000 families to support and the volunteers, who are mostly military spouses, make that connection through calls, social media and unit social events. Only 500 full time guard members work at the base during a regular month and the rest of our guard members are civilians living all throughout Oregon and Southern Washington. The volunteers attend a monthly meeting for training and information updating and then take that information back to their families. It is a rapidly changing environment that we live in and getting information to families is paramount as benefits and entitlements of being a military family change and deployments are a constant reminder that it's not business as usual for our military families who are civilians most of their lives and who feel like a military families only during deployments.
Every other year we hold a huge Family Day to say THANK YOU to our families for supporting their guard members each and every month for drill and through deployments and TDYs. It's our equivalent of an office party on a grand scale. On the opposite years our focus is to the youth in our community who are invited to view exhibits and gather information about what we do on our base. We call this Young American Day and it has been in existence for over 40 years. We also cohost Yellow Ribbon events throughout the state to better serve returning deployed guard members and their families. It is our hope that all who come home find the path of transition back into home, community and work as seamless as possible. These Yellow Ribbon events support that path. Strong Bond weekend retreats also focus on strengthening couples and singles in relationship communication skills. The 142nd FW families attend these retreats with other branches of service.
Volunteering is both rewarding for doing a much needed job and filling a gap in the information stream. It is imperative to connect our families even though they are far flung. Volunteers serve as the glue to make this happen. The turbulent times we live in cause information to be quickly generated necessitating creation and maintenance of a pipeline to the families. Volunteers are connected to the the Airman & Family Readiness Program Manager, who is able to gather and package the information and get it to the volunteers who stream it down to the families by any means possible. It's the telephone trees of old only on a more sophisticated scale.
We are looking for volunteers to assist. If you would be interested in providing time contact the Family Program office at 503-335-4193.
The Family Program meets monthly on the Saturday of UTA from 0930-1030, Bldg. 142 Wing Conference Room. All are welcome to attend.