Airmen and Family Readiness encourages members, families to stop by
By Major Krista DeAngelis, 151 ARW/PA
/ Published October 23, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY -- Jill Lukes sits at her desk in her soothing blue office as she thumbs through a stack of financial resources for a military spouse. Lukes, the Airmen and Family Readiness Program manager for the Utah Air National Guard, recently moved offices and now resides in the back of the 151st Force Support Squadron area.
Lukes' office, fully equipped with plush leather seats for her customers, looks welcoming, yet, lacks the foot traffic that she has been hoping for.
"We want members to know that just because our office has moved, we still provide the same comfort and confidentiality of services we have in the past," she explained. "We hope the new location - behind a locked door - doesn't deter people from seeking our services, and we welcome everyone to stop by who needs our help."
Lukes' office is open all day Monday through Thursday, but stands ready to assist military members every day of the week.
"We provide a variety of resources to Airmen and their families, including outprocessing help, providing financial resources, educational assistance, etc., and we are available 24/7," she added. "I can even be reached via cell phone if I'm not in the office."
While describing the purpose of her program, she lifts up a document with a full-page list of resources available to members.
"One of the most important things we do is refer folks to Military One-Source, a one-stop shop for all sorts of issues, from counseling to education." she said. "In addition to One Source, we also offer information on the Yellow Ribbon Program, and resources for pre- and post-deployment issues."
"We've had family members come into the office whose deployed spouse wasn't getting paid while overseas, so we tried to do everything we could to help him get paid, including working with the Utah Charitable Trust, Veterans of Foreign Wars, etc.," she continued.
Nearly 700 Utah ANG Airmen deployed last year, which makes the Airmen and Family Readiness Program Office even more viable today than ever before.
"Obviously our base has been under heavy mobility pressure and this puts a lot of pressure on our families," said Lt. Col. Mark Roberts, 151st FSS commander. "The Airmen and Family Readiness Program Office is working very hard to make sure units have what they need. The office is an integral part of FSS."
In addition to their office, the Key Spouse program assists with being the first line of help for the base units.
"Each individual unit commander appoints a key spouse/volunteer who is responsible for disseminating important information to their organization and families," said Lukes. "Our hope is that if a service member or family needs help, they will first reach out to their key spouse before coming to us...but our office is always available to assist."
The Airmen and Family Readiness Program Office is located on the second floor of building 210 in the FSS area.
"We encourage base members and families to stop by," added Roberts. "They can feel free to bring their kids and we'll entertain them...we love kids."