FRG open house highlights Fort Rucker Family services
November 21, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 21, 2012) -- Family readiness is considered a lifestyle for Soldiers and their Families, and Picerne Military Housing along with a few other organizations on Fort Rucker put together a Family Readiness Group open house Nov. 15 to help Families be proactive, and educate them on some of the opportunities that are available on Fort Rucker and in the community.
With relocation, separation and Family challenges, the goal of most FRGs is to assist Soldiers and their Families by equipping, educating and empowering them with the tools to be ready and be proactive in the military lifestyle, according to Curtis L. Williams, Army Community Service mobilization and deployment program manager.
"This is the first-ever open house, and for tonight, this gathering is like an appreciation. That is what we tried to portray to them. It is our way of saying 'You are appreciated and here are some of the resources that are available to you that we think you should know about,'" he said.
To become familiar with such services is a great asset to Families, according to Williams.
"We also appreciate what these programs do for Families and we appreciate them as well. We want to show these programs off because we are proud of them and know they offer great, invaluable services to Soldiers and their Families," he said.
The open house was held at the Picerne Military Housing headquarters building. Many tables were set up with displays and information for people to browse and ask questions to the attendants at each booth.
Some of the participating programs were: Leading Change Team, Red Cross, Survivor Outreach Services, Lyster Army Health Clinic, youth sports, the arts and craft center, and Dothan Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The open house served to not only educate people on what services are in place, but to also educate people on what FRGs are and do for Families.
"The FRG is an official Army program and is a commander's program within his or her unit. It is a group made up of Family members, volunteers, and Soldiers and civilian employees belonging to that unit or organization that together provide an avenue of mutual support and assistance. It is a network of communication among Family members, the chain of command and community resources," said Ingrid Pierce, the FRG adviser for 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment.
The FRG is vital in assisting commanders in enhancing readiness of Soldiers and Families, according to Pierce.
"Things are constantly changing and we want to keep information, which is vital to these leaders, at their fingertips and up to date. I am glad that Col. [Stuart J.] McRae, [Fort Rucker garrison commander], was here, it shows he cares," she said.
Several briefings were held throughout the night as well as a fashion show featuring children's clothing.
"Briefings regarding the Leading Change Team and the Yellow Dot Program will be conducted, as well as an overview of what Code Red is all about and Military OneSouce representatives will talk for a little while about what they have available," said Williams.
All assigned Soldiers (married or single), Army civilians, volunteers and their Families (immediate and extended) are automatically considered to be members of FRGs, but participation is completely voluntary, according to Pierce.
"Army Families are on the move constantly, therefore our positions of leadership change within the FRG on a consistent basis. To arm those leaders with the information they need to be helpful to Families, this open house seemed like the easiest one-stop solution," she said. "It's beneficial for FRGs to learn about resources available in different communities, military and civilian, that can support Soldiers and Families wherever they live.
"Successful FRG programs enhance Family readiness and preparedness for whatever may come our way," she added.
Several of the booths had services they offered during the event. Lyster Army Health Clinic gave free blood pressure tests and measured people's height and weight, and the DFMWR table had a photo booth set up where people could use props such as 'I love Fort Rucker' signs, fake mustaches and kissy lips to take a memorable photo.
Some members of the community in attendance, like Susan Johnson, said that they liked the opportunity to have more details provided to them about on and off-post services.
"I like having an opportunity to make friends who are going through exactly what I am going through and the FRG provides that. I like the support network," she said, adding that the fact that she saw a lot of Soldiers at the event and not just spouses made her happy.
Dinner in the form of sandwiches, chips, cookies and tea was provided to attendees.
"We just wanted to make people comfortable since they are going to be here a while," said Williams.
With everything said and done, Williams wants Families and Soldiers to know that ACS and other programs on Fort Rucker such as Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation are concerned for each and every Family member.
"We just want people to know that we care. We partner up and put events like this together to show everyone involved in FRGs or who wants to be involved in FRGs that we are here for them," said Williams.
To find out more about FRGs, call 255-0960.