Airman, Family Readiness Flight: Supports Luke above and beyond

Emilio Munoz, 2, and his mother, Lydia, share a good time at the July 21 Hearts Apart meeting held at Bounce U in Goodyear, Ariz. (photo by Staff Sgt. Ian Dean)

Emilio Munoz, 2, and his mother, Lydia, share a good time at the July 21 Hearts Apart meeting held at Bounce U in Goodyear, Ariz. (photo by Staff Sgt. Ian Dean)

Col. Henry Reed, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, welcomes home Airmen recently returning from deployment during a post deployment briefing at the Airman and Family Readiness Flight Sept. 20.(photo by Airman 1st Class David Bulkley)

Col. Henry Reed, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, welcomes home Airmen recently returning from deployment during a post deployment briefing at the Airman and Family Readiness Flight Sept. 20.(photo by Airman 1st Class David Bulkley)

Jaden Keckels, 5, gets a turn experiencing mission-oriented protective posture level four gear, or MOPP 4, during last year’s Operation KIDS event. (photo by Senior Airman Christopher Hummel)

Jaden Keckels, 5, gets a turn experiencing mission-oriented protective posture level four gear, or MOPP 4, during last year’s Operation KIDS event. (photo by Senior Airman Christopher Hummel)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz - -- As a means to help Luke members manage stress and ease some of life's challenges, the 56th Mission Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Flight offers support services to today's war-time military, Defense Department civilians, retirees and eligible family members. 

From transition assistance, to Air Force Aid, financial and life education, the flight enhances individual and family readiness by alleviating life's challenges so members can focus on the mission. 

"We understand the unique situations military members and their families encounter,
said Terry Jarrell, 56th MSS AFRF work/life consultant. "The AFRF has specific programs and services to help members overcome life's challenges and succeed." 

Deployment is one challenge facing today's Airmen. In conjunction with other base
agencies, the flight conducts pre and post deployment classes to educate military and
family members on issues such as how to talk to children about deployment, financial
planning and guidance on reuniting after deployment. 

The Hearts Apart program comforts spouses during the separation by offering monthly activities, which allow spouses to interact, gain emotional support and make new friends. 

Military spouses can also benefit from Heartlink -- a program that strengthens families by increasing spouses' understanding about the Air Force and the vital role of being a military spouse. The next Heartlink is 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 3 and includes briefings from base agencies, lunch, games, a goodie bag and a grocery gift certificate. 

According to Alana Whitener, spouse of 2nd Lt. Jalen Whitener, 309th Fighter Squadron, a day learning about the Air Force and listening to representatives from various base agencies is time well spent. 

"Through Heartlink, I gained a better understanding of my husband's job and the Luke community," she said. The AFRF also has a job resource room to help spouses or transitioning members gain employment. 

An Arizona Department of Economic Security veteran representative is available to
assist with the job search and register veterans with the state employment Web site. 

Another resource available is an American Veterans National Service officer who answers questions about veteran benefits and helps members file disability claims. 

"They advise and process disability claims for members who are retiring or separating
and can also update existing claims," said Master Sgt. Enrique Rodriguez, 56th MSS
AFRF superintendent. "Having an Amvets representative located in our building is just
one of the valuable resources we offer." 

For more information about AFRF services, or to register for Heartlink, call (623) 856-6550.