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Airman & Family Readiness: Here for you

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Ellis
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
In a building centrally located on MacDill Air Base, is a facility that caters to military members of all services and their families. The facility named after Madeline Tinker McCormick, the wife of the first commander (Gen. Clarence Tinker) of what later became MacDill Air Force Base, is filled of counselors with various levels of professional degrees and experience that cater to the needs of Team MacDill and the local community daily.

The Madeline Tinker McCormick Airman & Family Readiness Center has many techniques and tools in their arsenal to help military members cope with the transition to MacDill and to assist with daily life occurrences.

Stress and military life often times go hand-and-hand. With deployments, moving from base to base, which means making new friends and establishing new relationships, transitioning schools/teachers, new church, sports club and the list goes.

The Airman and Family Readiness Center provides "comprehensive services," said Dora Mays, A&FRC counselor. "Wherever you go from one base to the next the A&FRC should be one of your first stops. If they don't provide the service, they will be able to put you in contact with someone who does."

Some of the many expertise of the A&FRC include financial counseling.

Finances, they're great when you have them and headache when you don't. The mismanagement of them have been known to causes much stress and added anxiety, in addition financial scarcity has had strong links to divorce among married couples in the U.S. The Airman and Family Readiness Center offers many tools and workshops to alleviate and/or prevent financial woes. Counselors at the A&FRC can: assist with creating or improving one's budget, and can offer advice about saving or improving one's credit.

For those in need of immediate assistance there are programs just for you. Emergency financial assistance provides aid for emergency travel, vehicle repair, rent or mortgage, utilities and more. The Air Force Aid Society, Army Emergency Relief and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provide an interest free loan, a grant or combination of both based on the assessment of one's level of need.

The Personal Financial Management Program offers long-term solutions to finances by providing the information needed to develop a budget and plan for a strong financial future.

"People hire and pay a lot of money for life coaches because they have goals and things they want to accomplish in life. If you do that proactively instead of reacting you normally have a better attitude and a lot more success," said Mays. For more information about financial assistance or counseling call 828-0139.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to call a number anytime of the day or night and be able to speak to a knowledgeable individual who will listen and provide feedback on any topic you wanted, for free?

Well, if you feel like you just need to talk to someone but don't want to go through the hassle of making an appointment and sitting in a waiting room to be called, Military Family Life Consultants might be the answer for you. MFLC provide non-clinical counseling to military members and their families, retirees and civilians about a wide range of life issues. The services the MFLC offer are confidential and private, except for duty-to-warn. Some of the many topics include: relationships and marriage enrichment, work-related issues, parenting, anger and stress management, deployments, grief after loss, crisis intervention, relocation adjustment and reintegration. To contact the MFLC confidential direct lines call (813) 426-4145/731-6133.

Military life can sometimes be just as or even more difficult for family members.

"Moving can be especially hard for families with special needs children. They have doctors they're already seeing at their duty stations so permanent changes of station are especially hard and stressful," said Elaine Williams, A&FRC receptionist.

The A&FRC Exceptional Family Member Program offers resources/referrals, support groups and informational fairs to families with special needs. The EFMP can connect you with local events and activities on a weekly basis and through a monthly email newsletter, for more info call 828-0122.

Another program specifically designed for military families is the Key Spouse Program.

"The Key Spouse Program is definitely one of our tools we use to address potential stressors. Their primary responsibility is to deal with deployed families members, but they also assist families in general," said Mays.

The Key Spouse Program makes contact with 100 percent of the families of deployed members from MacDill. "They inquire about services or resources available and keep the family informed about happenings on base. They are a mediator between the commander and the family member," said Mays. For more info on the Key Spouse Program contact Mays, 828-0139.

The Airman and Family Readiness Center is open Monday through Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Their phone number is 828-0145, and there is information and a monthly events calendar on their website, http://www.macdillfss.com/mainmenusub-ss.aspx?SectionID=305. For those who live in Brandon area, the Brandon Airman and Family Resource Center is there to assist, for more info call 655-9281.

"Even positive situations such as the birth of a child can lead to stress because it causes environmental changes. During times of transition, increase in intensity at work or changes at home, are peak times to be on high alert for stress. Be proactive and self aware when it comes to stress, and remember the Airman and Family Readiness Center is here to help," says Mays.