Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

December 7, 2017 at 9:30am

Family Readiness pays it forward

Jill Marconi, Family and Airman Readiness director, speaks to community leaders during the Pierce Military and Business Alliance (PMBA) board in November in Lakewood. Photo credit: Maj. Brooke Davis

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The 446th Airlift "Rainier" Wing Family and Airman Readiness is gearing up for the holiday season and is in the highly capable hands of a new director.

As the new Family and Airman Readiness director, Jill Marconi brings an extra special toolbox of skills to enhance the quality of life for military and families here.

With the holiday season ramping up, Jill gives us insight into her background and goals as the Family and Airman Readiness director.

1. Can you describe how your background in Family Readiness gives you the tools to help military members and their families?
I have worked for the government now for over 30 years and have a great toolbox that I have acquired over the years. Some from personal experience of being a military wife and some just from meeting other people and learning new things from them. There's always something that we can do, even if I don't have it in my toolbox, I can certainly go and try to find an answer and then add that source to my toolbox.

2. What was something you experienced early on in Family Readiness that inspires you to serve as the director?
There's a saying of paying it forward ... to me that means as a servant to others. My job is to serve in the capacity of helping others. So in my past, someone helped me out when I needed it and now it is my turn to pay back by paying it forward. My job is to help empower people, give them the tools to go out and be the person they want to be.

3. Can you tell us a particular story that stands out in your mind about how your passion for Family Readiness has helped others?
Sure, what comes to mind is about a young man that believed me when I told him I would help him anytime he needed it. At the time I was working on an active-duty Army base, and I didn't realize how troubled this young man was until he showed up at my doorstep at midnight one night. He told me he was trying to commit suicide, and had failed. He needed help and the only person he thought he could rely on was me. So what I said to him must've really stuck in that young man. He grew up to be a wonderful person and now is a father himself. That just means sincerity, honesty and compassion can mean so much to others.

4. Arriving in the area around the holidays is great timing. Can you describe how it is to work with the local community to help support military families during the holidays?
This was great timing for me; holidays are wonderful. However, some of us may need that extra blessing from family, friends or support agency. Working with the community is easy; I just jumped right in. There's a great legacy here with Team McChord, always ready to jump into action when called. Everybody was very receptive in our community to have me here. Coming from the same type of job, it was easy for me to transition into a new community and one that I am very grateful to have around all of us.

5. Transitioning from Grissom Air Reserve Base to a joint community, can you discuss some advantages of resources available to military members and their families?
Being on a standalone base is great ...  things happen easily because everybody knows everybody and can always assist when needed. However, the advantage of being on an active-duty base for our military members is fabulous. Working with the resources of Team McChord and JBLM resources creates a tremendous resource of helping agencies. There are more resources that our people will be able to take advantage of so it's great to be part of a wonderful team here.

6. What are you looking forward to most about returning to your home state?
The best thing about returning to my home state is that I get to be with my family again. I left when I was very young and it has been numerous years that I have not returned home for long periods of time. So now it's wonderful to be able to spend holidays and birthdays and just any day with my family here.

7. What advice would you have for a military member or their family who might be struggling here with financial issues?
Over the years I've seen numerous people struggle with finances and there's always some form of help out there. Even if it's from budgeting to writing checks to understanding how to stay within a budget or getting some form of aid and assistance. It takes a very strong person to come in and ask for help. For a person to come in here and tell me that they are financially struggling means that they are working very hard in order to pull themselves out of the situation. I'm honored to serve those who are trying and figure out how to help each other. Life is hard sometimes and they just need that extra hand.

8. Can you give us a rundown of your goals as the new Family Readiness director?
My goal is to have events when all the helping agencies that we have are together and being able to share with the family members what we have available for them. Families are curious about what their loved ones do with their time here, and letting them know that we are here for the families as well can bring a better understanding when it comes to deployment separation.  I would really like to see us have a Christmas party for the children each year and perhaps a Wing family day, so that we can come together at least twice a year.

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