WRANGB Airmen Readiness Office and Chaplain's Office provide resources and caring support during holidays
By Senior Airman Justin Creech, 137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 07, 2015
WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- The holiday season is meant to be a joyous time spent with family and friends. However, the stresses of everyday life can make this a difficult time for many service members and their families.
Will Rogers Airmen in need of emotional or financial support this holiday season can find access to assistance through the Airman Readiness and Chaplain's Office.
"The best message to get out is that if you are a service member and need assistance this year, go to someone in your leadership so they can get with Airmen Readiness and get you to that resource," said Tracy Poindexter, 137th Air Refueling Wing yellow ribbon coordinator and former family readiness support assistant for the Oklahoma National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Oklahoma City.
The Airmen Readiness Office can find resources to help with food and even daycare, along with monetary issues. One option is Operation Holiday Spirit.
Operation Holiday Spirit is a collaboration between the 137th and 507th Air Refueling Wing to raise money to help those members who may need a hand-up during the holiday season due to a financial hardship. The year-long effort to raise funds culminates with a dinner and auction held during November drill with all proceeds going to help those in need.
Each unit on base can submit names and justifications to the command chief for review and submittal to the Operation Holiday Spirit selection panel for selection. Members who are selected are given a pre-loaded debit card to use as they see fit.
"Operation Holiday Spirit is our way as a wing to assist those members who have experienced those unforeseen circumstances during the season, such as the loss of civilian employment, sickness or death in the family, and so forth," said Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Rosebrook, 137 ARW command chief. "It's a way for us as a Guard family to take care of our own."
If the Airmen Readiness Office is unable to offer help, they will direct WRANGB members to the Family Readiness Support Office at Joint Force Headquarters. Their office can direct service members to local organizations like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars who provide assistance in the form of food baskets, toys and other items.
Airmen don't need to feel like they are alone if they need financial assistance or if they are missing a lost loved one. Capt. Joseph D. Baker, 137 ARW chaplain, is available to talk, and he wants Airmen and their families to remember there are always brighter days ahead.
"I try to remind people that what you are feeling is real," said Baker. "It's important, and it's meaningful, but those feelings aren't going to last forever. Whatever you are going through, there's always hope for tomorrow."
Whether it is Operations Holiday Spirit for a financial hardship, needing to talk to someone about the stress of the season or a loss of a family member, or assistance with toys and food baskets, the Family Readiness office has several resources at its disposal to assist the members of the Wing. But in order to provide that assistance, they must know who needs the help, said Rosebrook.
"I'm asking each and every member of the wing to utilize the wingman concept and make sure that no member of our guard family that has a need goes without this holiday season," said Rosebrook.
WRANGB Airmen Readiness Office: 405-686-5685 or 405-686-5686
Wing Chaplain, Capt. Joseph D. Baker: 405-686-5128
For questions about Operation Holiday Spirit, contact your squadron's first sergeant