[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    January 25, 2008
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AFAP delegates help Army work 
quality- of-life issues

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      Fort McCoy's delegates to the December Department of the Army (DA) Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) helped their counterparts from other installations/organizations work through issues that affect the entire Army.

Photo: Fort McCoy AFAP delegates, including DA AFAP delegates Lt. Col. Kirkland Diehl and  Master Sgt. Christine Tron, discuss an issue at the installation's AFAP Conference. (File Photo)
Fort McCoy AFAP delegates, including DA AFAP delegates Lt. Col. Kirkland Diehl and  Master Sgt. Christine Tron, discuss an issue at the installation's AFAP Conference. (File Photo)

      Lt. Col. Kirkland Diehl, the deputy commander of the 6015th Garrison Support Unit at Fort McCoy, represented Fort McCoy as a dual-status military representative. His spouse works at the Wisconsin Military Academy.

      Master Sgt. Christine Tron of the 84th Training Command (Leader Readiness) was the installation's other delegate, fulfilling the requested demographic for a Soldier in the ranks of E7 (sergeant first class)-E9 (sergeant major, command sergeant major).

      "This conference helped give me a better insight into family action issues," Diehl said. "It's taking care of Soldiers, which means taking care of families and vice versa."

      The number of general officers who attended the sessions to get firsthand input was very impressive, Diehl said. The Deputy Army Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody told personnel he was there to help ensure the Army family is taken care of.

      Cody told the attendees that retaining Soldiers leads to a better Army and to a better way of life, Diehl said.

      Diehl was assigned as a delegate to the Facilities and Transportation Group. Each group reported out its top two issues. His group's top issues were having Health and Wellness Centers at each installation and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sites in remote locations. The Health and Wellness Centers issue was voted a top-five issue (tie for fourth place) by conference attendees.

      The Health and Wellness Center concept would directly impact Soldiers, families and Department of Defense civilians at Fort McCoy and other installations, he said. This would help Soldiers pass Army Physical Fitness Tests (APFT) and meet weight standards and save thousands of dollars in training costs by ensuring Soldiers can meet APFT and weight standards before they are sent to attend schools, etc.

      Civilians also could benefit, for example, by having assistance available for such things as combating hypertension, smoking prevention, preventing alcohol abuse, etc.

      MWR facilities are an important asset in supporting the quality of life in an Army community.

      Diehl said Fort McCoy is considered a remote location, so proposals supporting MWR facilities at remote locations will help assist Fort McCoy programs.

      "I was told we do a good job in what we have and having (the leadership) acknowledge and set up MWR programs for improvement," he said. "To get something at a remote site, you have to request it, and then go through the request process to write it up and get it to the regional level. The funding is determined by how something (facility, programs, etc.) will be used and the return on the dollar."

      Tron said a Fort McCoy issue about the Modification of the Child and Youth Services Patron Leave Credit was discussed by the Youth Work Group, but was not voted out by that group as one of its top issues.

      From her own standpoint, she received a deep sense of accomplishment when one of the issues her group (Family Support II) discussed and briefed out was voted into the top five (a tie for fourth) of all conference issues.

      The issue was a comprehensive behavioral health program for children.

      "Never before have I experienced a more productive (five) days that would have such a profound affect on others," Tron said.

      All of the issues discussed at the conference have the possibility of resulting in a positive impact on Soldiers and their families, Tron said, especially in the case of the Army Wounded Warriors program.

      "The majority of the issues that were selected as the top five concerned Army Wounded Warriors and their caregivers," Tron said. "(Although) these issues do not specifically impact Fort McCoy, these issues impact all Army installations because there (are or) will be Army Wounded Warriors personnel at the majority of all locations."

      Diehl said written requests and documentation are important in the AFAP process at every level and for getting items funded.

      At Fort McCoy, personnel who see a potential issue that could be considered, need to ensure it is submitted for review in the process.

      "(The bottom line is) if you want change to occur for a better quality of life, you need to write up an issue and put it in," Diehl said. "If you don't, no one will ever know."

      Diehl said he has briefed Army Community Service (ACS) Program Manager Ann Wermer about the results of the conference.

      For more information about the AFAP process at Fort McCoy, visit the Fort McCoy MWR Web site http://www.mccoymwr.com and click on ACS (Army Community Service) Schoolhouse, and then on Army Family Action Plan or call the AFAP program manager at (608) 388-2359.

 

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