Annual forum yields progress for Robins, AF

  • Published
  • By Brian Shreve
  • Robins Public Affairs
Year after year, the Caring for People Forum proves it's not only concerned with discussing quality-of-life issues affecting Airmen and their families, but committed to implementing sustained action.  

Earlier this month, representatives assigned to work improvement plans derived from the April forum provided updates to Col. Dawn Lancaster, 78th Air Base Wing vice commander.  

Of 24 concerns presented last spring, the Integrated Delivery System - a group of various base agencies - has been tracking 12 of those issues for improvement and completion.  

Two of those issues have been forwarded to Air Force headquarters for resolution as they can't be fixed at the installation level, said Lesley Darley, community support coordinator. 

The first involves K-12 education support, specifically the fact that in the past families arriving at Robins weren't aware of the base's school liaison officer, who is charged with helping them choose the best school zone for their children.  

The plan is to add information about the school liaison officer of a military member's gaining installation to out-processing.

"That will help because once a family gets here it's too late," said Darley. "A lot of times they've already signed leases or have contracts on houses, and they end up being in a school zone that may not have been their first choice. This will allow them to know to contact the SLO prior to getting here."

The second concern is in regards to education assistance. The single Airman's focus group seeks to allow Airmen to sign up for education benefits at their first assigned installation rather than during basic training.

"At basic training, they may be overwhelmed," said Darley. "This would call for them to wait until they get to the installation and have a subject-matter expert discuss education with them when they're in the best frame of mind."

Other areas being addressed include an improved fitness environment and deployed family support for those affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The fitness issue includes repairs to the base track and resurfacing portions of the 5K trail where roots have caused concerns.

As for PTSD support - which Darley called a success story - the 78th Medical Group has been working with a local off-base group run by military members.  Similar to an Alcoholics Anonymous framework, the support group is volunteer led, but Robins' mental health agency will provide contact information and referrals to those seeking help.

"We have seen great success from the Caring for People forum, both at Robins and at the Air Force level," said Darley.