Third Army holds first FRG meeting at Shaw Air Force Base
Eleanor Yokel, daughter of Staff Sgt. Peter Yokel, Army advanced party communications NCOIC, Third Army/U.S. Army Central (Third Army), looks over a copy of the Yellow Ribbon newsletter during Third Army’s first Family Readiness Group meeting at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 19. Members of the city of Sumter highlighted activities and services available to Third Army Families as they join the Sumter community.

With the transition to Shaw Air Force Base underway, Third Army/U.S. Army Central (Third Army) held its first Family Readiness Group (FRG) meeting at the Carolina Skies Club on Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 19.

Establishing a firm foundation for the FRG program at Shaw Air Force Base will ensure Families receive the support needed as the command makes its move over the next year.

"I want to keep people informed, connected, ready and strong," Laura Batule, Third Army FRG program manager, told participants at the meeting. "If you keep people informed, ready and connected, they will be strong.

We want to keep you informed about everything that is going on. We want you to have the opportunity to be involved and to know that you are always welcome to participate in the Family Readiness Group." Susan Wild, communications, tourism and recreations director for the city of Sumter, came to the meeting along with Debra Green, community marketing specialist for the city of Sumter, to introduce themselves to Families and highlight the many activities available in the local community.

"I have had the opportunity to work as a liaison to Third Army since 2006," Wild said. "It has been exciting to meet a lot of different people over the years. We are excited you are here and we hope you all will have the opportunity to attend some of the festivals and events we have going on."

Wild highlighted the Shaw Street Fest as well as sports registration at Sumter's Patriot Park. She also handed out a sign-up list for Families to get event notifications sent to them on a weekly basis.

Claudia Bostic, community readiness consultant from the Airmen Family Readiness Center, also attended the meeting and spoke about the services the center offers. Bostic explained that the center is similar to Army Community Service in that it has a lending closet for incoming personnel and rAfAsumAfA and job-assistance services. It also has child care assistance programs and relocation assistance.

Batule introduced Shaw's new ZIP code zone leader, Lisa Banister, and explained the purpose of these groups. "FRG meetings are normally done in a formal official setting," Batule said. "The ZIP code group gets together in a smaller, informal setting.

Our Families are getting information through e-mail and the Yellow Ribbon (newsletter), but the ZIP code groups give them the opportunity to get together at a local restaurant they haven't tried or going to someone's house."

Batule also explained that many resources will be made available to Third Army Families stationed at Shaw Air Force Base. The FRG is working to ensure Soldiers and Families receive the benefits they are eligible for at the base. She explained one of these benefits is the possibility of free child care for some Families through the Child Development Center. "All the parts of being a tenant on an air force base are being worked," Batule said. We are working with the Air Force to make this a smooth, seamless transition for people. We just want to make sure you know we are here to help and want to be able to give you whatever information we can."

Batule ended the meeting by handing Families smart cards that provide a listing of phone numbers to important services on base from medical facilities to the housing office. Soldiers and Families can find more information on Third Army's FRG by visiting www.arcent.army.mil/frg.

Page last updated Fri August 27th, 2010 at 14:29