NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — With the sacrifices service members have to make, whether being deployed or learning the lay of the land of a new duty station, it is always helpful to have someone there to help with challenges they may face.
Service members have the opportunity to be ‘adopted’ by a family in the Las Vegas community by signing up at adoptaserviceman.com. This website links military men and women stationed at bases away from their home of record with civilian families or individuals who wish to become pen-pals.
The Adopt A Serviceman program initially was created to support military members who are deployed or about to be deployed. This was done by community members writing letters, sending emails and care packages to them. Its’ mission now is to reach all service members no matter what their status.
“This [organization] is open to all of southern Nevada’s military members, including guardsman and reservists,” said Ms. Pamela Kendall, Adopt a Serviceman founder. “Our focus has broadened now to encouraging civilians and military to connect even when they’re [not deployed].”
The Adopt a Serviceman program aims to fill the void some service members have when stationed in a region with little or no family members nearby. By connecting local community members with these service members, the program hopes to build a sense of pride in their new community.
“One of the keys is to keep our community and deployed service members connected so that they are still a part of the community no matter how far away they are,” said Ms. Audrie Dodge, AAS media relations coordinator. “As [he or she] travels [he or she] start to lose that sense of community outside of the military, and we wanted to make sure that there is still that connection once their gone.”
With the uncertainty community members have when it comes to meeting new service members, this program bridges the gap to making lasting friendships.
“The key is to make [the process] as easy as possible,” Dodge said. “Community members don’t know how to [get in touch] with military members and it can be unfamiliar territory. The [website] makes it a little more informal and lets them understand that it’s an easy connection to make.”
Along with signing up on the website, AAS holds annual events to give the community a chance to meet service members they would like to adopt face-to-face.
“The events provide service members an opportunity to come out and visit with the Las Vegas community and take pride of being a part of it,” Dodge said.
Even if people cannot attend the AAS events, the website makes it easy to get adopted.
“We encourage [people] to go to the website and sign up to be adopted,” Dodge said. “They don’t have to be deploying for that to take place. We want people to understand that this is something for all military members, and we want as many [people] adopted [as possible].
For more information on signing up to be adopted or upcoming AAS events, visit www.adoptaserviceman.com or call Pamela Kendall at 702-378-7777.