Airman and Family Readiness Program named best in ANG

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curt Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The 157th Air Refueling Wing has been selected as the top Air National Guard wing to receive the 2014 Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Award.

On Feb. 27, 2015, Bonnie Rice, the 157 ARW Airman and Family Readiness program manager, will receive the award during an official ceremony at the Pentagon. The unit is also one of seven reserve units to be recognized with this award and it is the second time in five years that the wing has been recognized. 

Units were nominated and selected as winners for their exemplary care of Reserve and National Guard families while maintaining outstanding unit readiness. The presentation will be held in the Pentagon Hall of Heroes and hosted by Mr. Richard O. Wightman, Jr., Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs).

"The award is additional validation of the program," said Rice, who has been program manager for 13 years. "Although receiving the award is a great honor, just knowing that I help Airman and their families makes me happy."

Rice is also a military spouse and her husband was once active duty Air Force, stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan.  Because of this, Rice understands the needs of Airmen who have permanent changes of stations (PCS). 

"My job is my passion," she said. "I love taking care of our Airman and our families."
Rice hopes that the award will bring the awareness of the passion and caring that the program has for the wing members and their families. Programs include but are not limited to: transition assistance, financial assistance, employment/resume assistance, child and youth programs, relocation/newcomer assistance, and other assistance/readiness program. The program is available to help any service member and their families.

Rice's office is located adjacent the chaplain's office in the wing headquarters. She credited the chaplain's office and work of Lt. Col. Robert Cordery (Father Bob) to the program's success.

"I'm fortunate that our Wing Airman & Family Readiness Program has a really good connection with our wing chaplain's office," said Rice. "Father Bob and I work hand in hand. (We) are very passionate about taking care of our airman."

Those attending the ceremony at the Pentagon along with Rice will be: New Hampshire Air National Guard Commander Brig. Gen. Carolyn Protzmann, 157th Mission Support Group Commander Col. Paul Loiselle, 157 ARW Command Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Lawrence, and volunteers Master Sgt. Adam Hart, Mrs. Carla Knob, and Mr. Jim Protzmann.

The Reserve Family Readiness Award recognizes one National Guard and Reserve unit from each of the seven Reserve components and the winners are those units with the best programs to support their families.  Representatives from each of the winning units will attend the ceremony and receive a commemorative plaque and framed certificate from Mr. Wightman.  Each unit will also receive a certificate and cash award from the Military Officers Association of America.  The cash award is to be used to further enhance the unit's family support programs.

The DoD Reserve Family Readiness Awards Program was established in 2000 to recognize the top unit-level Family Readiness program in each of the Reserve components.  Family readiness programs are particularly important as the United States relies on significant numbers of reservists to serve in critical locations worldwide.  Family readiness has proven to be a key component of mission readiness.  Robust Family Readiness Programs have enhanced the deployability of Guard and Reserve units and they represent a vital link in the support networks for our reserve families.

The 157th Air Refueling Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program supports the 'Total Force Mission Readiness' through a multitude of programs and activities provided to the Airmen and their families.