WR-ALC Commander reflects on family, holidays

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Polly A. Peyer
  • Warner Robins Air Logistic Center
Like so many people, my thoughts on Thanksgiving are eternally tied to family.

There are more than a few good reasons for that. Of course, most people's earliest memories of this holiday are of traditional family gatherings complete with a feast, family fun and football.

But there is a deeper reason for the connection of family and Thanksgiving Day. This uniquely American holiday is a day set aside to be grateful for our many blessings. When I think of all the things I have to be thankful for, my family is first and foremost in my thoughts. My family is my greatest blessing and a major priority in my life. I hope it's yours, too.

Winston Churchill once said, "There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained."

Indeed, those personal traits learned from a good home life lead to the relationships we cultivate throughout our lives. It is how we establish the friendships and working relationships that make every aspect of our lives -- from work to recreation, rest and relaxation -- a success.

This all came to mind for me last week as I gathered with my staff for our Thanksgiving luncheon, an early kickoff to the food and festivities for the season ahead. More than once, the term "extended family" was used to describe our relationship to one another. After the meal, as we sat around laughing and sharing thoughts and stories, I couldn't help but realize it was true. We are very much akin to a family unit.

The concept of family was one of the draws to an Air Force career for me. The camaraderie of military service, the necessity of teamwork and emphasis on people were evident and appealing to me from the start. Caring about people and the mission requires the utmost commitment, the kind of loyalty and dedication one normally reserves for their family.

The Air Force commitment to family has only gotten stronger over the years. Support programs designed to assist and care for family members have grown in both variety and quality since I joined the service. We are currently in the midst of a celebration -- the Year of the Air Force Family -- that shines a spotlight on the breadth of excellent services offered for our families. Check out www.MyAirForceLife.com and you'll see that this service is truly devoted to supporting the family.

Many of these helpful programs offered for all our personnel have taken on increased importance in these times of deployments, high operations tempo and economic difficulties. Particularly with the holidays upon us, the stresses of life can seem overwhelming. That's why it is important that we are all good Wingmen. We must look out for and care for one another. So please, stay alert for any signs a coworker, relative or friend is troubled or depressed. Reach out to them or refer them to the resources here to help them. That's what being part of a caring family is all about.

Another way the Air Force has furthered its commitment to family is through our increased emphasis on safety. I'm proud that everyone at Robins is embracing the Voluntary Protection Program, as is evident in our ever growing list of safe sites. During this holiday season, I want you to remember to do as VPP has encouraged you and take your safety practices with you when you leave work. Apply them to your life at home and in your leisure activities. And be sure to make safety a pre-planned part of any holiday travel; especially if you are driving long distances or in inclement weather. We all want to see every member of the Robins family back safe and sound after the holiday.

Happily, my perception of the Air Force proved more than correct. I've grown a large, extended family over the course of 34 years - a family tree with branches that reach around the globe. That tree has significantly grown during my time here at Robins.

It is indeed an honor and privilege to be part of the rich, 68-year legacy that is Robins Air Force Base. This incredible family history is one of patriotic, hard-working people dedicated to mission success. The family we know as Team Robins gives greater meaning to the term "extended family." The close-knit partnership between this installation and its neighbors is a rich, long-standing Middle Georgia tradition. It is without a doubt the best base-community relationship in the Air Force, and something for which we are truly thankful.

All together, base and community, we share in a heart-felt connection to the cause that drives us. The work we do supports a significant extension of our Air Force family -- those who deploy to fight for our country. Thanksgiving is a great time to honor the continuing vigilance of every Airman, Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Reservist and Coast Guardsman giving so selflessly of themselves for our sake. They are a blessing to us all.

As we gather around our tables with family and friends to share good food, laughter and memories of times past, take a moment to remember the families whose celebration will not be complete because their loved ones are on duty for our nation in a distant land.

And as you think of those who've pledged their lives for our sake, make sure you take some time this Thanksgiving to do what they will be unable to do -- spend time with the ones you hold most dear and let them know how important they are to you.

There is nothing more important than family. Brian and I are happy and most thankful to be part of the Robins family. Please, have a safe, enjoyable Thanksgiving.