TEAM EFFORT
Redstone Arsenal commander Maj. Gen. Jim Myles speaks to Soldiers and civilians at the Redstone Arsenal Community Family Readiness Group meeting last month.

Unlike predominately-military installations, Redstone deploys both Soldiers and civilians. It's looking to support them through a non-traditional readiness group.

"The concept is new in that our demographic is unique here," said Kathleen Riester, Army Community Service program manager and FRG representative.

At other installations, troops deploy as a unit. A traditional family readiness group is in place at their post to meet the needs and answer the questions of their families for the duration of their deployment. At Redstone, however, civilians and Soldiers deploy throughout the year - sometimes individually or in small groups for varying time periods. A traditional readiness group just wouldn't work for them.

"That's why our name is the 'Community Family Readiness Group,'" Riester said. "Because we're trying to cover all of our people under this one umbrella. Even if you're an office of only five and you have no one deployed right now, you may have someone deployed in the future. You're welcome to the table."

Last year the Community FRG formed to try and meet the needs of Team Redstone, both Soldier and civilian, as they deploy. Along the way, they have identified issues unique to civilian deployments.

"There is not really one deployment checklist for spouses of civilians who deploy," Riester said. "We're taking the initiative to create one."

In order to give the best support possible to Team Redstone, they are reaching out to every tenant on post who currently deploys personnel, is planning future deployments or simply wants to be involved with the group.

"The idea is to invite every organization on post to the table," Riester said. "We want them to be a part of what we're doing, which is to support everyone who deploys from this post."

While multiple past deployments have brought some organizations to their attention, Riester said there are others out yet to be identified. She hopes those organizations will come forward so they can be a part of the next FRG meeting Dec. 3 at 1 p.m.

"We've already reached out and touched some of these organizations," she said. "But we haven't been able to get everyone yet."

Riester is happy to brief organization heads on what the group is and how it operates. Participating in a briefing often helps the command decide who from their organization should attend planning meetings and how to make the most of what the Community FRG has to offer.

"I'm happy to talk to them about what we do as a non-traditional FRG," Riester said. "I like to brief the command on who we are and what we are doing. They have the opportunity to ask questions. Then they can determine who they want to send. They just have to contact me."

The group meets quarterly, with subcommittee meetings held in between to work issues. Members include organizational heads, commanders and representatives from both the installation and the surrounding community.

"It's not a mandatory thing," Riester said. "But we recommend it to everyone."

For more information or to schedule a briefing, call Riester at 876-5397 or e-mail kathleen.riester@us.army.mil.

Page last updated Fri October 16th, 2009 at 16:01