Spotlight on: The Family Readiness Group Leader

Story by Shelia Brookins, Kentucky National Guard Family Readiness Support Assistant

November is Military Family Appreciation Month, a celebration of the Military Family in which the Department of Defense and the nation honors the commitment and sacrifices made by the families of the nation’s service members. We offer the following to raise awareness on matters of importance among Kentucky’s unsung heroes.

Hobbs Chrismas 2013

Micha Hobbs with her husband, Staff Sgt. Brandon Hobbs and their daughter Brylee Kate. Micha is the family readiness group leader for her husband’s infantry unit. (Photo courtesy Micha Hobbs)

RAVENNA, Ky. – It takes a special kind of person to take on the task of Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader/volunteer.  In addition to balancing their own obligations between family and job, the FRG leader serves as a lifeline between Guard families and unit commanders. These unpaid volunteers are without a doubt key to the operational readiness of our National Guard.

In order to get some insight I asked Micha Hobbs to share her story. Micha is the proud spouse of Staff Sgt. Brandon Hobbs and the mother of one year old Brylee Kate. Micha and Brandon have been together since they were juniors in high school, so she was there when he joined the Kentucky National Guard.  Micha currently works full-time as a speech language pathologist at Estill Springs Elementary in Irvine, Ky.   She also works as a nurse for Reliant Health in Skilled Nursing Facilities, and she is still able to volunteer her to time to assist the families of Company C, 1st Battalion 149th Infantry in Ravenna.

How did you become interested in volunteering for the FRG? In 2006 my husband was preparing for his first deployment to Iraq and he encouraged me to attend an FRG meeting and get to know other family members from his unit. I attended a meeting and enjoyed it. I was asked to become a volunteer and so I served as secretary until 2008.

Brandon and Brylee

Staff Sgt. Brandon Hobbs and his daughter, Brylee Kate. (Photo courtesy Micha Hobbs)

In 2010 my husband asked me to start our FRG up again. I had reservations about it because I knew with the leadership role came a lot of duties and expectations. After thinking on it for a few days I decided to take it and I’ve been here ever since.

Why is working with the family readiness group important to you?  If a soldier can make as many sacrifices for me and my freedoms, the least I can do is support them and help make things easier for them on the home front! I have been on two different ends of the FRG, both receiving and supporting. 

I know while my husband was deployed the FRG was my saving grace. I had a group of people that I could always count on to make me feel better if I was down, answer my questions or just relate to when I needed to talk. We had outings, meetings, celebrated holidays together and much more. It was such a rewarding and helpful experience and it helped keep my husband’s mind at ease as well. He felt that he did not need to worry about me as much because he knew I had a support system at home.

Click here for contact information for the Kentucky National Guard Family Programs and Family Assistance.

Now, as a leader, I am responsible for putting out information, helping others network and making sure families are aware of all of the resources available to them.

Akron 2013

Staff Sgt. Brandon Hobbs during a marathon supporting his former commander, Lt. Col. Jeff Cole, who has a rare form of leukemia. Being part of the Kentucky National Guard is, for many, like being part of an extended family. (Photo courtesy Micha Hobbs)

What do you feel are some of the benefits of the FRG for the families and soldiers? During the last deployment I was the FRG Leader. I definitely felt the pressure as I received at least a phone call or email everyday with a concerned spouse, mother, father, relative, friend, etc. I knew that it was my responsibility to keep the families informed with accurate and up to date information and help them in every way that I could.

I had a great relationship with the company commander at the time and he did a great job of keeping me informed from abroad. I also made sure that I kept families up to date on all the resources and information available to them during deployment. It was a stressful and busy time, but we all made it through. Whether it’s pre-, during or post-deployment, the FRG is a great way to get to know families in the unit, obtain loads of information about a variety of topics, and have that support system everyone needs in the military.

 

 

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