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 October 08, 2010

News

ISFAC provides assistance to Families

Story & photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

Spouses left home alone while their husband or wife is mobilized to another part of the globe have a national source network of information to assist their Family.

PHOTO: Maj. Richard Rastall, left center, explains details about Fort McCoy’s Contingency Operating Locations to Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee participants as they toured a COL. Photo by Tom Michele
Maj. Richard Rastall, left center, explains details about Fort McCoy’s Contingency Operating Locations (COL) to Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee participants as they toured a COL. The ISFAC group was attending a quarterly meeting at Fort McCoy.

The Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee (ISFAC) provides information to military Family members about a vast number of businesses and organizations that can provide assistance to support and ease the emotional, financial, and unexpected needs a Family may incur while they are separated from their loved one.

“ISFAC is a voluntary community cooperative,” Kevin Herman, Wisconsin ISFAC coordinator, said. He also is the installation mobilization/demobilization program manager at the Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) office.
“ISFAC is a partnership to allow service providers to engage in multi-service networking to assist with connecting servicemembers and their Families to local community and military resources,” Herman said.

He said ISFAC is a product of Operations Iraqi Freedom (now called New Dawn) and Enduring Freedom. ISFAC supports hundreds of thousands of mobilized servicemembers and their Families who do not reside on a military installation. Herman explained ISFAC is a resource for those servicemembers and their Families, including all five branches of the Department of Defense, “for them to reach out and connect with other military Families and to ensure they receive the support and benefits they are entitled to. It is so no Family’s needs are left unmet.”

Herman said organizations in the resource network include state and federal service providers, such as county veterans service offices and Military Family assistance centers, and non-profit organizations such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

His own office at ACS is in the network, along with Military OneSource and Army OneSource. Also included is a homeless veterans program at Fort McCoy, which is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (http://www.dva.state.wi.us).

Health care agencies, such as TRICARE, and legal issues, are among the topics.

Other examples are the Camo Quilt Project in Plymouth, Wis., where volunteers make small quilts for Soldiers (http://www.camoquiltproject.blogspot.com), the Military Family Resource Center of Sheboygan County (http://www.frc-sc.org) and military units that have Family Readiness Groups.

The Wisconsin committee meets once every three months at various locations throughout the state, with Fort McCoy being the host every September.

“Military servicemembers and their Families are invited to attend ISFAC meetings to get a better understanding of the services available to support them and to take that knowledge back to others in their units,” Herman said.
Herman may be contacted at the ACS office at 608-388-3540 or e-mail at kevin.herman@us.army.mil.

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