Holidays enhanced by community

Airman and Family Readiness Center organizes wing’s first Children’s Christmas Party

By Master Sgt. Minnette Mason, Staff Sgt. Nicole Erb on November 21, 2018

The 446th Airlift Wing Airman and Family Readiness Center, located at McChord Field, continues to be a hub of support and resources -- especially during the holiday season.

"(We want) all the folks we work with to have the happiest holidays possible," said Master Sgt. Kathleen Myhre, NCO in charge of the wing A&FRC.

Mhyre is one of a few full-time staff members who keep the center operational throughout the week. She and Jill Marconi-Pyclik, the director of Airman and Family Readiness, said they are available to Rainier Wing airmen and their families.

This year, the center staff organized the wing's first Children's Christmas Party, which takes place Dec. 1 from noon-3 p.m. at McChord's troop holding facility, Bldg. 1330.

"The Christmas party will be a very family-friendly environment, and all are welcome. There will be something for everyone to enjoy," Myhre said.

While hosting the party is unique this year, the A&FRC team continues its annual traditions of collecting donations for the angel tree and holiday food baskets, and organizing Thursday's Operation Turkey Drop and Operation Ham Grenade scheduled for Dec. 12. Anyone in the wing can submit a nomination by providing basic information about the nominees and their family members.

"We want people to know that these programs and donations are for anyone -- whether struggling or as a reward, brand new to the Air Force or seasoned; we want to build morale any way we can," Myhre said.

Marconi-Pyclik emphasized her team's desire to provide.

"It is a blessing -- not just a donation. It's for anyone at all; we do not need to know if anyone is struggling," she said. "I will find the people who need or deserve the gifts we have to give!"

Marconi-Pyclik has been with the wing since September 2017, and her mission to support airmen and their families surpasses the holidays and continues year-round. She said she wants to help anyone in need, any time.

"It's my job to contact 100 percent of the families of those who have a spouse that is deployed. I check in on the families of our deployed troops every 30 days," Marconi-Pyclik said.

"I stress to everyone in the office that when they speak to anyone on the phone with regard to our services -- especially in the case of a deployed member's family -- that we need to smile," she added. "We are just here to offer support and resources if they need anything."

Rainier Wing reservists are encouraged to visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center to learn of other available resources. Mhyre said airmen who are preparing to separate or retire from the Air Force may contact her to learn about the Transition Assistance Program, or TAPS. In addition, a certified financial counselor on staff is available every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on most Saturdays of the unit training assemblies, or UTAs.

"Jill is the key player for the holiday events and programs. She has all the ideas and methods, and we just support her any way we can," Myhre said.

Marconi-Pyclik explained how her ideas stem from the importance of connecting with airmen and their families. The holidays provide an opportunity for her and her team to make this happen.

"Family day and Christmas are the only times we have to connect with our Air Force Reserve families," she said. "And that connection is so important because the connection between the uniform our folks wear and the families they leave behind when (away on temporary duty) are so significant. We want them to remember that we are here for them when they need anything."

"Our services are here to help all members of our families but also single airmen; we need our families and troops to be taken care of so the mission is successful."

Anyone interested in supporting or nominating for this year's holiday food baskets, angel tree or Operation Ham Grenade, should visit the A&FRC, Bldg. 1207, or call 253.982.5530.