ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga., April 18, 2013 --
Responding to the effects of a continuous deployment cycle and compounding day to day stressors, the 116th Air Control Wing has increased the number of resiliency programs to help Airmen and families cope.
With more than 30 programs that simply provide an outlet to talk or give professional guidance, each assistive office shares a common objective--help wing members and family overcome the challenges of work, deployments, and family.
"Our guardsmen have unique generational and financial challenges," said Col. Kevin Clotfelter, 116th ACW commander. "Airmen need to have a variety of programs available to help them manage the stress that comes with the current climate and our wing's high operational tempo."
According to Renate Donghia, 116th ACW director of psychological health, Airmen can even thrive in difficult times with the right support.
"I offer a one stop and ideally first resource for Airmen that need help with any kind of coping, adjustments, stressors, anger and other areas," said Donghia.
Eileen Byrd, from the 116th Family Support Office, heads up one of the longest running support programs in the wing dating back to 2000. According to Byrd, she serves as an information resource linked with wing, base, and national level military and civilian resources aimed at assisting families before, during, and after deployment.
Programs such as 'Heart Link,' and the 'Key Spouse Group,' help ease the burden felt by spouses while the military member is deployed.
"It gives my husband peace of mind knowing the Family Support Office is helping me and the kids cope while he's gone," shared Olivia Allen, whose husband has deployed multiple times with JSTARS. "He's able to focus on his job knowing we are taken care of."
One of Byrd's newest offerings--slated to be up and running in April--is the 'United Through Reading' program. Military members will be able to stop by the 116th ACW Family Support Office before deploying and be videotaped reading a book to their children. The video will be provided to the family for the children to enjoy while their parent is deployed.
For the first time, the 116th ACW has hired a full-time chaplain. Chaplain Keith Dobbe is able to provide privileged communication between the two parties, allowing the seeker to speak freely without obligation by the chaplain to report incidences.
For members seeking mentoring or spiritual guidance, the 116th ACW Chaplain Corps provides counseling, intervention, and support. One of their most popular programs--offered for the past six years--has been the annual Strong Bonds conference.
"The event, scheduled for July 26-28, allows couples to rekindle their relationships and improve communication," said Staff Sgt. Steven Battle, 116th chaplain assistant. "We have received feedback that marriages have been saved after couples have attended the conference."
To complete the arsenal of formalized programs, individual work centers have incorporated physical fitness areas in the work center. Aircraft mechanics in the 116th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron have a modern gym available right at their doorstep.
For a list of resiliency programs offered by the 116th Air Control Wing, go to the Georgia Air National Guard Family Readiness page at http://www.116acw.acc.af.mil/resources/georgiaairnationalguardfamilyreadiness.asp
For a list of resiliency programs offered by the 78th Air Base Wing go to