Program helps Army Families help others
Volunteers and new instructors cut the cake to celebrate the AFTB birthday. From left to right: Christa Miller, Erica Koelder, Julie Zwiebel, Debra Sparks, Trish Verschage.

FORT RILEY, Kan. - Military Families can get information on specific challenges they will face in many places. However, one of the best resources is often right next door or down the street - other military Families.

To acknowledge this, the Army developed the Army Family Team Building program, a formal acknowledgement of the support given by military Families to other military Families.

The program relies on volunteer efforts, and many individuals have given much of their time to the cause of helping other Families. Some of those individuals were recognized Jan. 30 in a volunteer recognition ceremony held at the Army Community Service Annex on Huebner Road.

The keynote speaker was Annette Wiggins, wife of Brig. Gen. Perry Wiggins, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley.

"We get more out of volunteering than we give," Wiggins said during her speech.
Besides individual volunteers being recognized, four new instructors also received certificates and gifts, presented by Col. Richard Piscal, garrison commander.

Volunteers recognized were Amie Jones, Anita Hurlburt, Becky Willis, Christa Miller, Debra Sparks, Diane Campbell, Erica Koelder and Evan Michaud, whose wife Laura accepted the certificate on his behalf.

New instructors were awarded certificates and tote bags, which included their new study manuals. Instructors recognized were Laura Michaud, Heather Stewart, Trish Verschage and Julie Zwiebel.

Etie O'Connell, long time volunteer, was presented with a gift by Debra Sparks, to honor her volunteerism before she leaves Fort Riley. Wiggins also was presented with a wooden tray by Faith Barnes as a thank-you gift.

In order to help new Family members adjust to the military lifestyle, AFTB members complete several training sessions over a span of years.

Three training levels are based on the experience of the AFTB member. The first level teaches basics of military life, while the second, for Family members who have been a military Family for five to 10 years builds on those concepts and develops leadership and crisis and conflict management skills. The third level, for military Families with over 10 years of experience, helps maintain lessons learned in the first two levels and adds on with workshops and problem solving skills.

Currently, AFTB has about 221 programs worldwide that are kept in motion by the efforts of 20,000 volunteers.

For more information, call ACS at 239-9435 or visit www.riley.army.mil and select Army Community Service from the drop-down menu under Services and Family Services.

Page last updated Fri February 6th, 2009 at 12:26