By Airman 1st Class Sadie Hewes, story and photos , 103rd Airlift Wing
/ Published May 03, 2018
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, EAST GRANBY, Conn. -- Inevitably, everyone goes through rough patches, as an individual or even as a family. Sometimes the pressures of life can just become too much. As a military member you may feel like you should be able to handle all of you and your family’s obstacles yourself. This may lead to internalizing struggles or ignoring them until they become uncontrollable. Thankfully, Wing Care Team of the 103rd Airlift Wing wants to know that there are a plethora of resources available to Airmen to aid in overcoming life’s struggles.
“Even if you’re wondering ‘Is this something for the WCT?’ we’d be more than happy to discuss that and to let you know which of us can help with an issue,” said 103rd Airlift Wing Director of Psychological Health Linda McEwen.
The WCT is a full-time resource available both on drill weekends and during the regular work week. The team consists of the Airman and Family Readiness Center, the base Chaplain’s staff, the Equal Opportunity Office, and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program.
Linda McEwen and Kasey Timberlake of the Airman and Family Readiness Center are available to aid with an array of problems, from financial inquiries regarding things like home loans and student loans, to aiding in the transition from military service to a civilian life, to psychological or family counseling.
Timberlake, who has been working with military families for over a decade, wants to inform more people about the resources that are available to them at Bradley, regardless of their status in the deployment rotation.
“We’re a resource that is mobile,” Timberlake said. “We’re very interested in getting out into the squadrons and making sure we’re present. Depending on the needs of the squadron, we would like to work with them as individuals instead of treating the entire wing as a whole. We really want to get down into what the leadership of each squadron believes are the most important aspects of care in that particular work section.”
Another realm of Comprehensive Airman Fitness that the WCT addresses is spiritual fitness. When seeking spiritual guidance or even just non-religious life advice, the base Chaplains’ “fundamental role is to walk with people through whatever they’re going through,” said Maj. Eric Wismar, Wing Chaplain. Wismar can be reached via his personal cell or office number, and they are always happy to have people drop by if they need to talk. Worship services are offered on a drill to drill basis for anyone interested in attending.
The Wing Care Team also coordinates many of the events that happen around base. On April 8, 2018, a Yellow Ribbon Ceremony was held to thank the Airmen who deployed last year and their family members. Linda McEwen also gave briefs for stress management, relaxation, and marital relationships at the ceremony.
Additionally, McEwen holds group meditation and relaxation exercises on base. During drill weekends, these sessions are normally on Sunday afternoons at 3:30 p.m. During the work week, they are on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. The locations of these sessions vary, and Linda can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information for anyone who would like to attend.
Another upcoming event coordinated by the WCT will be Deployment Discovery Day May 19, 2018. This event, coordinated by Kasey Timberlake, is open to all children of guardsmen from kindergarten to 8th grade.
“The kids will come in early in the morning and we’ll put them through a PT test and an obstacle course,” explained Timberlake. “Once the kids are ‘cleared for deployment,’ we’ll deploy them to the flight line, where they’ll have an opportunity to see a C-130, a Chinook, a Black Hawk, a military working dog demonstration, and eat some MRE’s. Then we’ll put them back on the bus and take them to the dining facility, where they’ll have a big welcome-home ceremony. We’ll finish the day with a barbeque.”
Finally, the Chaplains plan to hold a Strong Bonds event in September of this year. This event is slated to be a married couple’s retreat. More information on this event will be released in the near future.
No problem is too big or too small a problem for the WCT, and they encourage anyone who needs guidance to reach out. Again, they are a full-time resource that is not only available on drill weekends.
“When you don’t know where to turn, turn to us,” said Wismar. “We’re here for you, and I think that I can say that on behalf of all of our Wing Care Team members.”