Wright-Patt’s Airman & Family Readiness Center continues its mission

The Airman & Family Readiness Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base provides programs and services designed to strengthen and support those affiliated with the military.

Programs and services include the areas of finance, relocation, transition assistance, employment, personal and family work life, deployment, Exceptional Family Member Program, volunteering and more. They are available to military personnel and their families and Department of Defense civilians and their families.

Under the direction of Eric Thayer, A&FRC flight chief, and Beverly Coe, supervisory work/life consultant, those programs and services have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic but are being delivered in a different way as the staff teleworks. When the center, Bldg. 2, 2000 Allbrook Drive, Area A, reopens, services will continue to be provided on a walk-in basis, with a few exceptions.

“We may not be in the center, but we are operational and are here for eligible members,” said Shonté Gonzalez, a community readiness consultant for the Transition Assistance Program. “We are ready to help at the drop of an e-mail, and we can reach out through phone calls and videoconferencing.”

One silver lining of the current situation is that people are getting more individual attention.

“We are spending plenty of time with each individual without interruption,” she said. “We are able to concentrate one-on-one with that person and provide a more individual focus.”

A&FRC programs and services include:

• Air Force Aid Society; contact Gary Sapp. Eligible applicants for the two types of loans available are active duty members, spouse of an active duty member, retirees or a widow/widower and are within 50 miles of an Air Force installation. To complete an application, go online to https://my.afas.org/memberportal/Login/Login.aspx . Applicants will be contacted for further information.

• Budgeting; contacts Sharron Griffin-Gorham and Dawn Ivy. People who need help with a budget or access to obtain a free credit report can email the A&FRC workflow.

• Deployed readiness; contact Master Sgt. Eric Natalicio. Pre- and post-deployment briefings are offered virtually. Natalicio ensures families of deployed members are connected with the community and what’s happening at Wright-Patt and other pertinent information.

• Employment events/job fairs. Employment-related events are being changed to virtual job fairs. Links are posted on the A&FRC Facebook page and emailed out through the center’s employment email distribution list. To be added to that list, email the A&FRC workflow address.

• Exceptional Families Member Program; contacts Tavonne Bridges and Stephanie Wilson. They are available for assistance and to answer any questions.

• Key spouses; contact Jackie Shazor. She works with key spouses via email to keep them updated with A&FRC information for them to send to their families.

• Military family life counseling; contacts Sabrina Mignerey and Ami Olinger. They are available by phone and video conference for counseling services for active-duty members and their dependents and Guard and Reserve components on issues like deployment and reintegration; marriage and relationships; parenting and family; communication challenges; stress and anxiety; sadness, grief and loss; and daily life. Consultations and trainings are free and anonymous. No records are kept. Appointments are available Monday through Friday only. Mignerey is at 937-203-6461; Olinger at 937-972-1054.

• Personal financial counselor; contact Kathy Hobbs, AFC (accredited financial counselor). Downtime is an opportunity for active-duty members and their families to re-evaluate their financial situations and set new financial goals once they have set a budget for themselves. Hobbs is doing virtual one-on-one review sessions via phone, email and videoconferencing as well as a virtual office hour. Topics of discussion and education can include spending plans, debt and credit card management, consumer rights and obligations, home buying, Thrift Savings Plan and retirement and estate planning, taxes, emergency savings, investments and more.

• Redesigned Plan My Move; contact Stephanie Cummiford. She can email the presentation, answer FAQ’s and provide other helpful information. Cummiford has been reaching out to first-term Airmen and those moving overseas within the vMPF to ensure that they have all the information to have a successful permanent change of station. She also emails steps to access the gaining military installations’ information and how to get the Wright-Patterson AFB booklet.

• Survivor Benefits Program; contacts Bill Mayo, Cherrie Olinger and Kim “Pete” Petersen. Transitioning retiree members can reach out to them for more information about their benefits.

• TAP; contacts Shonté Gonzalez, DeAdria Habersham and Kelly Hebert. TAP provides information, tools and training to help service members and their spouses get ready to successfully move from the military to civilian life. Military students complete TAP requirements online; other required TAP briefings may be conducted via teleconference. Contact them at WPAFBTAPWORKFLOW@US.AF.MIL.

• Remote VA benefits advisors; contacts TyRhonda Coleman and Brad Ward. They conduct remote, one-on-one assistance sessions via phone or email (don’t send attachments). They can answer questions, explain benefits and connect service members, veterans and loved ones to helpful resources. Coleman can be reached at 703-980-3264 and tcoleman@kck-inc.com; Ward at 270-401-1089 and Ward_Bradley2@bah.com.

The A&FRC may be reached to take advantage of these programs and services at 88fssfsfrworkflow@us.af.mil. Its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Airmanandfamilyreadinesscenter/ contains a lot of information and posts and is another way to reach the A&FRC staff.

“We want to make sure people know we are not gone,” Gonzalez said. “We are here. We miss face-to-face interaction with our customers, but we are responding, working and serving everyone we can. We are doing our best under current circumstances.

“We can answer questions and connect people to what they need – all the resources we have at Wright-Patt,” she said. “Customers may not be seeing us in person, but we are making sure either we answer their questions or connect them to the subject matter experts they need. We are being creative so we can help.”

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