Conference transforms ideas into reality
Lt. Col. Everett Spain, U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt commander, cheers as a diverse, yet united group of Schweinfurt Soldiers, family members, and civilians cut the Army Family Action Plan cake, marking the end of the three-day, local-level conference.

SCHWEINFURT, Germany - The 2010 Schweinfurt local-level Army Family Action Plan, or AFAP, conference marked yet another successful year of collaborative efforts to improve the Army way of life. Held at the Conn Community Conference Club Feb. 8 through 10, a total of 79 issues were addressed by the three work groups, focusing on areas of family and entitlements; consumer and housing; and force support and medical/dental.

"Everyone brings in their unique experiences. You each bring something different to the table, but today you sit united ... to ensure Schweinfurt community issues are heard," said Jane White, AFAP program manager, to the room full of volunteers, agency directors, and commanders.

According to White, these delegates, ranging from family members to Soldiers of all ranks, served a vital role in the productivity and momentum of the conference.

After three days of hard work, each group chose two key issues to present to the command team, who will then prioritize the issues for possible submission to the command-level AFAP conference held in Heidelberg later this year.

Key subjects included cleanliness of government housing areas, exclusions to military spouse preference for employment, commissary hours, wait times at on-post gas pumps, post-deployment medical screenings, and unsafe traffic areas during school operating hours. The three groups, who branded themselves as the President's Cabinet, the Power of Eight, and the Power Rangers, suggested solutions for each issue in hopes to make the change.

"It's important to take responsibility for our actions and sometimes even the actions of others," said garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Ernest Lee, encouraging everyone to help and be an active part of the aspired change.

"We need to start taking care of each other, especially when we don't have to because that's when we become a family. What I see in AFAP is people who truly know how to incorporate love into action," added Lt. Col. Spain, U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt commander, thanking the participants for their help.

Overall, the issues discussed were put into the beginning stages of transforming ideas into reality and according to White, subjects not brought up at the concluding outbrief will still be addressed by the command team.

"It's important we turn our ideas and issues into progressiveness and move forward with it," White said.

In the end, the participants expressed their feelings of accomplishment and uttered their appreciation for the environment of teamwork and friendship, while leaving their week's worth of hard work with one challenge.

"Tell your friends. ... and make sure your voice is heard no matter what," Spain said.

Page last updated Fri February 12th, 2010 at 09:30