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Caring for People Forum commences Command-wide

  • Published
  • By Kate Blais
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
Air Force Global Strike Command installations recently began collecting community feedback as part of an annual Air Force initiative, the Caring for People Forum.

The program is designed to strengthen support services and ultimately improve quality of life for Airmen and their families. Issues and ideas are relayed to senior leaders through discussion between base-level Community Action Information Boards and Integrated Delivery Systems and their communities.

Feedback begins at the base level where community support coordinators request ideas that can help improve quality of life or suggestions on Air Force policy.

"Every year around this time the Air Force encourages people to submit ideas to improve people programs," said Mike Wardell, 509th Bomb Wing community support coordinator.
According to Wardell, in this case, people programs are referred to in a broad sense, and ideas or issues can include any area that deals with people: customer service at a base facility; base infrastructure; military and/or civilian personnel; the education center; Force Support Squadron programs; mental health; family advocacy; child development center, etc.

"If we don't know the needs or challenges of Airmen and their families, we are not serving them in the best manner possible," said Cynthia Whitesell, 5th Bomb Wing CSC. "Through the IDS, we have conducted focus groups based on demographics such as spouses, E1-E4, etc. The turnout is always high, and in general the community is forthcoming with positive, constructive ideas."

Once community feedback is gathered, each IDS team reviews and discusses all issues and ideas specific to their installation. The group determines which issues can be worked at the base level and which issues are sent up to Global Strike Command headquarters. The installation IDS will track issues through resolution, periodically updating the local community on progress or results.

"Those ideas that could help other bases, or that we need help on, we send to MAJCOM," Wardell said.

Up to 10 issues that cannot be resolved at the MAJCOM will be sent to Headquarters Air Force for the Air Force Caring for People Forum in the Fall.
According to Chief Master Sgt. Michelle Thorsteinson-Richards, AFGSC medical enlisted force chief and Caring for People command lead, items that remain at AFGSC are formatted and sent to their respective subject matter experts to provide an answer or solution.

"Once the answer is returned to myself, I prepare a word document with the initial questions asked and the response from the subject matter expert. Once completed, each base point of contact will receive the information" said Thorsteinson-Richards. "They are also informed if one of their questions was forwarded to HQ AF and if it was accepted as a topic to be tracked until complete."

The Air Force selects 10 topics to address at their level.

"Caring for People is the "cradle-to-grave" process for Airmen of all components of the Total Force, including family members and retirees," Thorsteinson-Richards said. "The forum supports and encourages programs and initiatives intended to enhance morale and quality of life for Airmen and their families. When 'we' take care of our people, they take care of the mission in AFGSC."

For more information on the Caring for People Forum and/or to share ideas, please contact your installation CSC:

Barksdale - Jeffrey Maiette
F. E. Warren - Currently Mary Brown, in transition to Joe Martini in the next week or two
Malmstrom - Tracie Faulk
Minot - Cynthia Whitesell
Whiteman - Michael Wardell