ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
The Airman and Family Readiness Center at Altus Air Force Base provides resources, programs and workshops to everyone with base access. The services cover a wide range: from employment and transition assistance to voting information, deployment support, key spouse programs and personal/work life help. The A&FRC is a resource-abundant office that aims to leave Airmen more informed and well-connected thus improving their quality of life in Altus.
Throughout the year, the A&FRC finds ways to support Airmen and their families during times of change such as deployment.
“The Spouse Deployment Support Brief is held at least once a month to help ease the strain of deployments by providing education about programs and services available to spouses while their service member is deployed, tasked to deploy or recently returned,” said Mrs. Jessica Volkman, Community Relations Consultant assigned to 97th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Center here. “The Hearts Apart events have a similar theme in mind. The events, such as the Christmas You Missed pool party this summer, are family-centered to help every family member through deployments and reintegration struggles.”
The A&FRC collaborates with other offices and organizations to ease stresses felt by military families. The A&FRC is working with the Military Child Education-School Liaison Office (MCE-SLO), Armed Services YMCA and the USO to host a free Back-to-School Kids Deployment event on August 2.
“What I find unique about this event is it’s a collaboration with back to school and the deployment line,” said Mrs. Patricia Cotton, Altus AFB A&FRC Director. “Usually you don’t see both combined at kids’ deployment events. The collaboration and partnership with these agencies is going to be phenomenal.”
The event allows kids to experience a simulated deployment line including fingerprinting, a mock fitness test, flight equipment demos, free school supplies and a backpack. Some military kids and families not only feel the stress of going back to school, they also experience the deployment of a loved one. This event is meant to help military kids make sense of these times of change.
Life in the military means picking up and moving when called to do so. Times of change are frequent and often mean dependents leave a job behind. In hopes of making the transition to a new community easier, the A&FRC is available to provide employment assistance such as resume writing, mock job interviews and job fairs. Computers and resource books can also be found in the discovery center part of the A&FRC office.
Making transitions easier is what the A&FRC is all about. While embracing the unfamiliar of a new installation can be uncomfortable for some, the A&FRC helps to build relationships between Altus AFB spouses by helping to implement the commander’s Key Spouse program. The program trains spouses hand-selected by squadron commanders to support Air Force families on base and connect them to other people and resources.
“Especially here in Altus, spouses don’t have access to a lot of resources or they don’t know what to do in the area or even who to even contact,” said Volkman. “Being able to connect them to their key spouses in their squadrons has helped increase their enjoyment in life overall.”
The A&FRC is not just for Airman with families. The resource center has programs available for single Airman as well. Programs include deployment readiness, moving out of the dorms and financial support such as budget reviews.
No matter the reason an Airman may seek out the assistance the A&FRC provides, the staff are excited and passionate about improving the quality of life for Airmen at Altus AFB. Providing a safe, calm, peaceful and welcoming place is equally as important as the programs they provide. The A&FRC wants Airman to not only be greeted with a smile but to know all questions are welcome in this safe place.