Wing’s Family Readiness Group offers array of activities

Martinsburg -- Filling the 167th Airlift Wing's dining hall to capacity is something Barbara J. Wright hopes will happen one day when the unit's Family Readiness Group meets. The organization is open to any Airman or family member in the Wing.

Wright wears a dual hat as presidents of the 167th Airlift Wing's Family Readiness Group as well as the West Virginia National Guard State Family Council.

With so much information to provide Airmen and their family members, the FRG now meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Previously, the group met on a quarterly basis. After the group's "business" is discussed, group activities are now held to help build cohesiveness. One recent activity included the construction of scarecrows with paint sticks.

The group's primary mission is to encourage family members to take part in activities that support the local unit. Another goal is to help develop a family support network through which family members support one another in times of deployment as well as other time of need.

"We are here to support the families and the mission of the unit year round," said Wright, who first got involved with the organization when her son 1st Lt. Randy Lewis, now a C- 5 Galaxy pilot with the 167th Airlift Wing, was deployed to Germany. Her daughter, Staff Sgt. Heather Wright, is assigned to the Wing's base emergency management. Heather has been deployed to Kuwait.

"That's how I got involved, me being a mom," said the Hedgesville mother on the deployments of her two adult children. "It was a way for me to support the mission."

Currently there are about 100 members listed on the phone tree and an e-mail support network with plenty of room for more volunteers to be added.

"Anyone that wants to become involved is welcome to attend or volunteer," Wright said.

The FRG offers an array of activities for families and Airmen, from holiday events to morale calls to collecting and sending off packages to those serving overseas. Members of the FRG always welcome an extra pair of hands in support of their efforts.

"We work very closely with the Wing's family program office," Wright said.

Susan Sanders is the Wing's family program director.

On Saturday the unit's FRG held a Fall Harvest Festival for family members that included games, train rides, refreshments as well as "trunk or treat." On Veterans Day the group will visit the Veterans Administration Medical Center to honor those who have served and are serving their country.

Next month Christmas with Santa, which will offer gifts for children as well as refreshment, is slated for 1 p.m. on Dec. 7 in Building 110.

The group's monthly meeting in December will feature a Christmas Mixer for volunteers and a Yankee Gift Swap.

A Christmas dinner will be hosted by several Methodist churches in the area at Marvin's Chapel off Gosling Marsh Road in Martinsburg on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. Wright said the
churches are honoring families of deployed service members in the area. Reservations for the event should be made with Lt. Col. Mike Foley (304-616-5281) by Nov. 15. The date for the event in case of inclement weather is Dec. 13.

For more information about the 167th Family Readiness Group or to volunteer contact Wright at 304-229-5369 or e-mail her at bwright2410@aol.com