November is Military Family Appreciation Month

Staff report

120702-Z-VT419-018

Families are the unsung heroes of the US armed forces. They often suffered similar stress and loneliness as their deployed loved ones. It’s the job of the Family Assistance Center and Family Programs to provide support and guidance during both wartime and peacetime service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Each year the President signs a proclamation declaring November Military Family Month. Last year President Obama said that our nation owes “each day of security and freedom that we enjoy to the members of our Armed Forces and their families. Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support.”

This annual proclamation marks the beginning of a month-long celebration of the Military Family in which the Department of Defense and the nation will honor the commitment and sacrifices made by the families of the nation’s servicemembers.

Throughout the month of November, military families serving around the world are honored through a variety of observances and recognized for their commitment and the many contributions they make every day in support of the military and our nation. Efforts to recognize the sacrifices of the military family by Active, Guard, and Reserve leaders are being joined and supported by DoD organizations to include the Army Air Force Exchange Service, Defense Commissary Agency, and others.

Community leaders, businesses, and military bases and posts are teaming up to recognize military families through special events such as: open houses, fun runs, family fun nights, and community dinners; discounts at MWR facilities, local business and sporting events; and special recognitions during community activities throughout the month of November.

121021-Z-FO477-604

A military family enjoying “Christmas in October” last year at the Kentucky Air Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Maxwell Rechel)

Family Support Program & the Family Assistance Center

Key to our state’s military community is the Kentucky National Guard’s Family Support Programs and the Family Assistance Center.  This includes a State Youth Coordinator, Family Readiness Support Assistants, Family Assistance Center, Military Life Consultant, Personal Financial Counselor, Military One Source, Transition Assistance Advisor, Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, Survivor Outreach Services, and Community Outreach.

Joan Kivior serves as the Family Assistance Center Program Coordinator.   A veteran of the Persian Gulf War and the war in Afghanistan, she knows the importance of families in the military community.

“For us military families are number one,” said Kivior.  “I can tell you from experience that they are the heart and soul of the our armed forces.   Without the support of our families the troops can’t do their job.  It’s our job in the FAC to take care of the families so our soldiers and airmen can do theirs.”

According to Kivior last year the FAC provided assistance to both Army and Air Guard members and families experiencing personal and/or financial difficulties.  Her team contacted 6,844 service members and their families, generating  2,243 cases to external agencies such as the American Legion, the Veterans Administration, USA Cares, the Military Family Trust Fund, Local Community Action Agencies and Church organizations and so on.

“It’s most definitely a team effort,” said Kivior.  “We’ve worked hard to develop relationships throughout government and the private sector to help our families.  There are very few problems we can’t solve one way or another.”

Kivior reminds us that the FAC provides assistance to family members from all branches of service residing in Kentucky, and not just the National Guard.

“While not everyone lives near an active duty base, we are scattered all across the state.  We support all of our military families, active duty, Guard and reserve, Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines.  We’ve even helped folks connected with the Coast Guard.  We can do it all.”

Click here for contact information on the Kentucky National Guard Family Assistance Center or call 1-800-372-7601.

About kentuckyguard