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March 30, 2013

163rd creates collaborative with support agencies

A member of the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing, readying for retirement from active duty service, was unsure where to access his benefits and how to find housing. He approached the Religious Support Team’s office for assistance and they quickly linked him up with an organization that specialized in assisting transitioning military members.

The Religious Support Team maintains relationships with agencies that provide a variety of services, from educational and vocational support to physical and mental health services.

The 163rd Religious Support Team and the director of Psychological Health have spent the last two years networking with civilian agencies that support the military. All their hard work will finally pay off, April 6, at the unit’s annual Wingman Day.

“We are excited to bring together all these agencies to support our Airmen,” said Chaplain (Capt.) David Sarmiento, the full-time chaplain for the 163rd RW. “We went off the base to see what the community has to offer.”

Wingman Day will begin with a commander’s call for all members of the unit and will include guest speaker Troy Percival, retired Major League pitcher who was instrumental in the Anaheim Angels’ 2002 World Series championship. After the guest speaker, Airmen will be able to browse around the tables from the participating agencies.

Finding the right agencies for the job was not as easy as it sounds. The chaplain and his assistant, Master Sgt. Heather Simpkins, have networked at meetings and scoured the internet for agencies that could provide effective support. Not every agency was up to the task. To achieve a balanced variety of services, the Religious Support Team filtered through the agencies to find the ones they felt would best serve the Airmen of their unit. They held a preliminary meeting with many of the agencies last week to cement the agencies’ participation and commitment to the Air National Guard.

With looming budget cuts affecting many government and civilian agencies, many Airmen are turning to the Religious Support Team for help. Though this will not be the first time these 20 agencies will be represented at Wingman Day, the 163rd looks forward to ongoing collaborations and stronger relationships with organizations that serve military members and their families.




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