97 AMW: We ARC here for you

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Heidi Bucins
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Personnel from the newly renovated Airmen Resiliency Center share several programs available to support Airmen at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

The ARC is a building on base that offers services that link Airmen to the tools they need to increase resiliency, mental health and well-being while ensuring the Air Force is an inclusive, equitable and fair workplace free from discrimination.

“At the ARC we provide suicide prevention training, equal opportunity, sexual assault and prevention services,” said Chris Hargis, 97th Air Mobility Wing Integrated Prevention and Response director. “We also have military family life counseling available and a prevention specialist who analyzes trends on base and forwards the data to the Community Action Team.”

The original concept for the ARC was envisioned by Maj. Trent Davis, 97 AMW chaplain, and Tech Sgt. Jonathan Mathe, noncommissioned in charge of chapel operations, and was officially opened June 11, 2013, to create a strong and resilient force.

The ARC began their most recent renovations on May 31, 2023, and reopened on June 9, 2023. Although they have not had their official ribbon cutting, they are currently open to Airmen on base.

The ARC is home to programs that support Airmen and their families such as Sexual Assault Prevention Response, Integrated Prevention Response, Equal Opportunity, Military and Family Life Counseling, and other services. 

Sherri Barton, 97th AMW, Sexual Assault Prevention Response (SAPR) victim advocate, explains the support services she provides that help others.

“Sexual assault and harassment are something that unfortunately happen in the Air Force,” said Barton. “As victim advocates we are here for victims and survivors who need a safe space to talk and find support. We are available day and night and we can also refer people to other services on base.”

The Integrated Primary Prevention program at the ARC helps to identify areas in need of improvement to ensure Airmen are taken care of so they can focus on the mission as expressed by Thomana Flores, 97th Air Mobility Wing Integrated Primary Prevention chief.

“One of our primary services is supporting the management of the Community Action Team to recognize different trends on base and then find solutions that can be forwarded to the installation commander for approval,” said Flores.

Tech. Sgt. Jose Fuentes Jr, 97th Air Mobility Wing Equal Opportunity program director, explains how equal opportunity benefits Airmen and the mission.

“Our primary responsibility is to advise leaders at all levels how to eradicate unlawful discrimination and harassment,” said Tech. Sgt. Jose Fuentes Jr, 97th Air Mobility Wing Equal Opportunity program director. “In an Air Force, where we often do more with less, having an environment where Airmen can thrive and focus on their duties is critical if we are to remain the world’s most lethal Airpower.”

The services offered at the ARC are there to help Airmen and their families.

“I would like Airmen to remember to reach out to us; regardless of what you’re going through, there are people here that can help,” said Hargis. “We want everybody on base to know that if you don’t know where to go, come to the ARC and we will get you to where you need to be.”