KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - The Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense, Soldier and Family Readiness Group (SFRG) out of Kaiserslautern Military Community, Germany is not just a support network between the unit and families, but has doubled down efforts to ensure family members are informed and cognizant of the ever changing COVID-19 laws and restrictions that began here since the epidemic started January, 2020.
Allison Burton, the SFRG leader, said that being stationed OCONUS has certainly presented challenges during this pandemic.
“Not only has it become vital to know what is happening in and around Germany, it’s also become imperative that everyone knows what the current Army guidelines are that effect all family members,” Burton said. “Having the knowledge that our only option is to shelter in place and ride this out has been difficult for some. With that understanding, we, as spouses made sure that we leaned on each other during such an uncertain time.
“Living in Germany has also had major advantages during this time! While some may see it as a negative due to physical distance, knowing that we have German law as well as Army orders to follow has helped keep everyone safe with little to no backlash.”
Amidst social distancing, teleworking and homeschooling, Burton took immediate action upon hearing the order to wear face coverings as guidance was enviably coming down from the German government and Army. She assembled the spouses and those that could not sew donated their time, money and fabric while the seamstresses went to work.
“Knowing that many soldiers didn’t have access to adequate equipment, and this was now a requirement, we knew we needed to help!” she said.
Heidi Bredlow and Brittney Bush, both SFRG volunteers, led the effort to create the face coverings and in the first week alone the group created over 75 face coverings. They immediately distributed them to the Soldiers and family members that needed them the most to include soldiers living in the barracks, without proper face coverings.
Part of Burton’s day-to-day is send out daily emails and posts on the 10th AAMDC, HHB, SFRG Facebook page, updating everyone on new information. She also has a group chat with and hosts virtual meetings.
Burton said her goal is the keep the spouses involved and making certain they do not feel isolation during this time of social distancing and isolation.
“The leadership has approached me asking how they can help the families,” she said. “Knowing that a major concern over the past six weeks has been the well-being of every member of the 10th has made this time much easier!”
Cpt. Dustin Colegate, former commander, HHB, 10th AAMDC, said that the SFRG has been an integral component of HHB/10th AAMDC operations.
“Every month the SFRG hosts a social and a SFRG meeting, both to ensure information is being distributed to the families through the headquarters, Colegate said. “They've even leaned in to the sponsorship program to ensure incoming family members have a connection with someone forward which has proved instrumental to settling within the KMC.”
Colegate also said that he had never seen a group of spouses have such a high sense of camaraderie, together with a sense of purpose to support each other.
“This team has coalesced to support each other during such trying times and has shown tremendous strength,” he said.
The SFRG is always prepared for the usual emergencies, deployments and training events that are a part of the military lifestyle; but “COVID is a beast of a different color and has turned the norm upside down,” Heidi Bredlow, a SFRG volunteer, explained.
“Some soldiers are in their homes with their families, teleworking and spending more time at home than on a normal block leave schedule and this is incredibly foreign ground to be standing on as a seasoned military family,” Bredlow said.
Bredlow said that Burton has gone above and beyond as the SFRG leader.
“I'm certain she never imagined leading us through a global pandemic, but here she is killing it,” she said. “She's not just doing the bare minimum to check the blocks, she is engaging the spouses in a variety of ways while simultaneously making sure we are getting our needs met.”
Bredlow said that information is spread a variety of ways to ensure the widest distribution.