AFAP participation improves Fort Rucker quality of life
Tanner Howell, 16, and Dashia Martin, 17, bag groceries at the Commissary Aug. 4. An Army Family Action Plan Conference issue last year prompted the hiring of more teenage baggers at the facility.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Community members are urged to take action in preparation for Fort Rucker's 26th Army Family Action Plan conference Oct. 5-6 at The Landing, installation officials said.

Soldiers, Families, retirees, surviving Family members and Department of the Army civilians are needed as volunteers and are asked to submit issues for discussion at the conference, according to Barbara Throckmorton, AFAP program manager.

AFAP is a grassroots-level campaign designed to make improvements here and Armywide.
The conference welcomes surviving Family members of Soliders for the first time this year, she said, due to the growth of the Survivor Outreach Services program and those individuals' unique perspectives and issues.

"We felt that would be a great demographic to add into the conference so their issues can get taken care of," Throckmorton said.

"Survivors are still part of the Army Family and the demographics of AFAP need to cover every group that is part of the Army Family," said Sue Jackson, Army Community Service director. "We all work together to make Fort Rucker and the communities in which we live better."

AFAP officials seek volunteers to fill delegate, facilitator, recorder, transcriber and issue support positions from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the two-day event.

"(Volunteering provides the) satisfaction of knowing that they participated in something that was for the greater good of the community and our Army Family," Throckmorton said.

Several local issues were resolved as a result of last year's conference, she noted.

Fort Rucker parents noticed their teenagers weren't able to easily obtain employment as Commissary baggers. Officials worked through the issue, and now patrons will notice more youth bagging their groceries, Throckmorton said.

Soldiers separating from the Army are now better educated on filing for Veterans Affairs disability ratings well in advance of leaving the military, so they receive their benefits as soon as possible, she said.

Issues should be submitted for this year's conference as soon as possible. Anything that cannot be resolved at the local level goes on to Training and Doctrine Command AFAP conferences, and ultimately Headquarters of the Department of the Army levels, if necessary, Throckmorton explained.

"To make a difference in not only the Fort Rucker community, but the total Army, people need to submit issues and they can be a part of the change," Jackson said.

A 2008 issue, regarding orthodontic services, was received by TRADOC this spring and sent to HQDA for consideration early next year, Throckmorton said, showing that Army leaders at all levels want to improve Soldiers' and Families' quality of life.

"We accept issues year-round and encourage people to always submit them because sometimes local policies and changes to the Army can't be made at the installation level," Throckmorton said. "We encourage people to submit (the issue) while they think about it and while it's occurring."

Two local teenagers and military Family members are examples of AFAP's success. Dashia Martin, 17, and Tanner Howell, 16, were both recently hired as Commissary baggers.

Martin said the extra money will help her pay tuition at Wallace Community College where she plans to earn a degree in criminal justice this year.

For others, the highlight is having a little "fun money."

"I get work experience and gas and activity money," said Howell, an Enterprise High School student.

Issue and volunteer forms can be picked up and submitted in Bldg. 5700, Rm. 390 or at <a href="http://www.ftruckermwr.com/AFAP.htm" target="_blank">www.ftruckermwr.com/AFAP.htm</a>.

For more information, contact Throckmorton at 255-2382.

Page last updated Fri August 13th, 2010 at 12:09