J-9 Focal Point! Newsletter July 2013


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J-9 Focal Point! Newsletter July 2013

  1. 1. AA NNeewwsslleetttteerr PPrroodduuccttiioonn ooff tthhee JJ--99 JJooiinntt aanndd FFaammiillyy SSeerrvviicceess DDiirreeccttoorraattee The 237 year old experiment lives on! As our military celebrates 238 years this year, our nation declares its 237th year of life. This we proudly celebrate, and we recognize, this month, all who gave sweat, blood, tears, and incredible efforts to make the United States of America a nation of Liberty. See Page 3 Features PPUUTTTTIINNGG HHEERROOEESS TTOO WWOORRKK PTSD AWARENESS MONTH The Free and the Brave VRAP “A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?” - George Washington 15 July 2013Volume 4, Issue 4 First Aid is more than CPR ……aanndd MMUUCCHH,, MMUUCCHH MMOORREE!! About 200 Georgia Guardsmen, Airmen and volunteers attended the annual Family Readiness Conference put on by the J9, Joint & Family Services Directorate. The event was held at the Evergreen Marriott at Stone Mountain the weekend of May 18th . The theme of this year’s conference was a “House United” with the main focus on volunteerism and building resilient family members and service members. Many conference attendees agreed that family readiness before, during, and after a deployment is important to Army and Air Guard readiness because those units that have well-organized, well-run FRGs have Soldiers and Airmen who spend more time focused on the mission at hand and less time worrying about how their families are doing in their absence. With that being said, the workshops offered during the conference focused on ways to get more people involved in the family readiness groups, how to build stronger groups and resources that would assist with that endeavour. The attendees requested additional time in different areas of the state to get together with other volunteers to share ideas and learn from the experiences of other family readiness groups and volunteers. …Continued on Page 4
  2. 2. 2 Spring 2016 The J-9 Jobs Initiative offers a fulltime staff member that works directly with Guard and Reserve members to sign up for the Hero to Hired (H2H) employment program. Ms. Charlene Anderson is our H2H Employment Transition Coordinator offering support and assistance with our members that are seeking employment in the civilian sector. I am sure many of you are asking why you should sign up with H2H. jobs? There are so many sites out there offering this, that and the other, but this program is specifically geared to support your needs. Best of all, it’s free!!! This is a great tool to add to your job search arsenal. H2H differs from similar sites in that it offers job seekers a military skills translator, a resume builder, a career assessment survey, professional networking opportunities and so much more in one site. There is even a helpful guide to help you every step of the way. While registration does not guarantee you a job, it does offer you an opportunity to connect to jobs that match your military job skills and talents to outside employment. Ms Anderson works diligently networking and building connections with external employers and outside agencies to develop H2H jobs in our area to support your needs. She is always seeking new supporters, employers and agencies to join in our efforts to help you. If you are interested in more information, please visit the website at https://H2H.jobs or contact Ms Anderson at 404-219-0342. You can also download the mobile app for your Android TM Smart Phones or IPhone at www.H2H.jobs/mobile. Let us help you get from Hero 2 Hired!!! FOCAL POINT! SPRING 2013 PPUUTTTTIINNGG HHEERROOEESS TTOO WWOORRKK 2 By Melissa Dalton
  3. 3. 3 Spring 2016 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Timothy 1:7 I love Independence Day…we often simplify it by calling it the 4th of July, but that date is only the day of celebration…the fact that we take time each year to celebrate our independence is huge! As military members and families, the concept of freedom is deeply important to us! I recently went to a Goodwill Graduation with SGM Leaver. When we arrived, I assumed it would just be a short ceremony and I was excited to think that I might get home a little early that day. But as the ceremony progressed, I realized we were in for the long haul! This particular graduation celebrated people who had graduated from six different programs in the Goodwill Training System, and the head of each program described the class, highlighted all the employees who had a role in the training, and then highlighted a graduate who had overcome much to get into the program and then graduate. Then each of the graduates in that particular group walked across the stage to receive his or her diploma. As I sat there, getting a little anxious, and thinking about leaving, I felt a pang of humility and realized that that these people are important—way more important than my desire to beat traffic and get to the gym! They are people who have been fighting for survival, some of them their whole lives. These are people who are rarely encouraged and lifted up and people who have probably not celebrated many freedoms in their lives. It didn’t take long for me to turn my focus from myself to these amazing people who had overcome so much adversity to get into and graduate from this program. One of the graduates had actually spent 20 years in prison, been released, found himself floundering in what he called, “a new world,” and trying to decide how to live in his newfound freedom. By the end of the graduation my heart was soaring. I felt a new love for each of the graduates and a new respect for their strength of character to fight through the battles of life to get to a place of freedom from their pasts and hope for their futures. Since the graduation I have thought of them often. I see their faces, filled with triumph and joy, and I am thankful that they desired freedom so much that they were willing to make big personal sacrifices for it. As Americans we often think of freedom as our right, but I assure you, our freedom is something that has been earned through trial, hardship, and much sacrifice. National freedom is a result of having the strongest military in the world…personal freedom is attained through fighting for the things to which you hold dear and having the resiliency to endure the difficulties to keep them. What are you willing to sacrifice in the short term to attain long-term freedom? "Freedom" by Steve Penley FREEDOM is a stirring and penetrating tribute to American soldiers, from the Minute Men to the 48th Brigade, captured on canvas by renowned Georgia artist, Steve Penley, to benefit the Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation. Remaining signed prints are available at a reduced cost of $ 35.00 each, plus shipping and handling. More information FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
  4. 4. 4 Spring 2016 America's First African American Astronaut United States Air Force Major Lawrence was born on October 2, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 16, he was a graduate in the top 10% of Englewood High School. At the age of 20, he became a graduate of Bradley University with a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry. In addition, while a student at Bradley University, he distinguished himself as Cadet Commander of the Bradley Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and, upon graduation, received the commission of Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve Program. At the age of 21 he had become an Air Force pilot after completing flight training at Malden Air Force Base. …continued on Page 8 FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 The Free and the Brave! Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr. was a United States Air Force officer and the first African-American astronaut. Born: October 2, 1935, Chicago, IL Died: December 8, 1967, Edwards Air Force Base, CA Education: Bradley University, Englewood Technical Prep Academy,Ohio State University With that request, the first Regional Training is being planned for the near future with more event related information to come. The agenda will be determined by the requests from those volunteers attending. On Sunday morning, several individuals were recognized for their volunteer services: Outstanding Service Awards – Army Dorothy Cave – 179th MP Co; Kay Coots – A Btry, 1-214th ; Christi Fulgham – A Btry, 1-118th FA; Wendy Davison – A Trp, 3-108th CAV; Judith Dreher – 179th MP Co; Britni Fleming – 810th ; Megan Harpine - HHC, 1st BN, 171st AVN; Peggy Harris – F Co, 148th BSB; Shelie Hedrick – 1st BN, 111th GSAB; Holland, Verna – 420th SIG Co.; Emma Gile – Det 1, Co C, 1-185th AVN AHB Pamela Hughes – HHT, 3-108th CAV; Jan Johnson – B Trp, 3-108th CAV ; Kim Nash – 1-185th AVN; Merre Price – 1-214th HHB; Christina Palmer – B Co, 148th BSB; Charlie Rosenquist – C Trp, 1-108th CAV; Sheri Sharer – B Co, 221st MI BN; Ernestine Smith – 874th ; Leanne Burke Sweeney – 420th SIG Co Katelyn Thomas – 810th ; Rebecca Wheeler – A Co, 221st MI BN; Chaundra Whimbush – B Trp, 3-108th CAV; Marisol Williams – A Co, 221st MI BN Outstanding Supporters Effingham Baptist Church, Pastor Tom Davis; 24 Seven Family Fitness & Tanning Centers – Mark Eaton; Bomber Girls, LLC ; Sterling Autobody – John Davis & Staff; Carver Road Baptist Church – Katie Cobb; First Baptist Church of Atlanta. Outstanding Service Awards – Air William Cutshaw – 116th SFS ; Stacey Roberts – 165th AW Army Volunteer of the Year – Lauren Dunham (179th MP Co) Air Volunteer of the Year – Judi Lenz (165th AW) While we congratulated these particular individuals for being chosen the best among their peers, every volunteer makes a difference in their service member’s lives and in our organization.
  5. 5. 5 Spring 2016 Do You Know Your Chaplain? By: Melissa Dalton In this series of articles, we continue spotlighting a service program offered by the J-9 GA Guard Family Program Team. This month we want to focus on our Chaplain Services. Our chaplain offers you access to counseling support, resources, resiliency skill building, information and referrals that are both free and confidential. A military chaplain is a key member of the support staff for Service Members and Families. Though they wear the military service uniform, they are noncombatant leaders in the Guard. Your chaplain offers spiritual support, but also provides guidance, referrals and information about other support programs as well as offering support that pertains to religion, morals and morale. You will commonly see them during ceremonies, but they are also there in time of crisis and joy. Many chaplains are ordained or have degrees in pastoral or psychological counseling. The J9 Team is fortunate to have our own fulltime chaplain to offer guidance, support and information to military families. Chaplain (CPT) Leslie Nelson joined our team a short time ago, but she has been ever present during Yellow Ribbon Events, Family Program Events as well as provides program representation during the absence of key leaders. Chaplain Nelson brings a lot of passion, caring and knowledge that she willingly shares with our families and our team. She has spent time ministering to our Service Members and our families. Recently she spent time with some of our Wounded Warriors, during a special event with the Atlanta Braves. And while most of us will be enjoying the 4th of July holiday events at home or on vacation, Chaplain Nelson will traveling to Camp Shelby, Mississippi to be with some of our returning Georgia Guard Members. If you would like to learn more about our chaplains or you want to seek support, please contact Chaplain (CPT) Leslie Nelson at (678) 569-3895. FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 DIDYOUKNOW?
  6. 6. 6 Spring 2016 Veterans Retraining Assistance Program ( VRAP) FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 The intent of this program is to provide retraining for Veterans hardest hit by current economic conditions. The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to unemployed Veterans. To qualify, a Veteran must: • Be at least 35 but no more than 60 years old • Be unemployed on the date of application (as determined by DOL) with special consideration given to Veterans who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks • Have an other than dishonorable discharge • Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance) • Not be in receipt of VA compensation due to un-employability • Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program The program expires March 31 2014, unless Congress continues funding into out years. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance at the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program (currently $1,564 per month). The VA is accepting VRAP applications now. The DOL will provide employment assistance to every Veteran who participates upon completion of their program. Applicants must apply on line using the VONAPP process at www.gibill.va.gov . Participants must enroll in a VA approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certificate, and train the Veteran for a high demand occupation You may receive up to 12 months of payments equal to the monthly full time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty. If your training program is three months then VA will pay you three months of benefits. If your training program is 18 months long, VA will only pay up to 12 months. Individuals pursuing a program of education under VRAP must certify their attendance to VA for the last 30 days every single month (at the end of each month) to receive payment. American Job Center can assist individuals to complete the VRAP online application, to locate the nearest AJC, please visit www.servicelocator.org. The number to call 24/7 is 877-823-2378 or contact the education toll free number at 1- 888-442-4551 to talk to live a person. For more information contact your Transition Assistance Advisor (TAA): Marvin Thomas 404-313-4995 marvin.w.thomas.ctr@mail.mil or James Pawlik 404-313-8823 james.s.pawlik.ctr@mail.mil
  7. 7. 7 Spring 2016 First Aid is More Than CPR FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 Training and continuing education is a key part of providing services and support to our families, and my most recent training taught me that there is more to First Aid than Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR. I attended two days of training in Albany, Georgia that was presented by the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network (GMHCN). To say that is was an eye opener is a mild understatement. I expected a class that gave a basic review of mental illnesses and hoped to gain skills to help me better handle these issues as they arise. Honestly, when I thought of mental health disorders, I was thinking of the “really big ones”, like Schizophrenia, BiPolar and major depression. With our increased concern over suicide, I wanted to be sure that I was prepared as a first line contact to get someone the right help, in the right way and as quickly as possible. What I got was a better understanding of anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders and the impacts of stress! Did you know that one in four American adults have a diagnosable mental disorder? According to the National Mental Health Institute (NMHI), “an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans or roughly 57.7 million people, ages 18 and older have a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.1 The highest percentages of mental disorders relate to Anxiety Disorders, which occurs in 19.1% of adults.2 This includes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), phobic disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), panic disorders and Obsessive- Compulsive Disorders (OCD). Eating disorders are classified as mental health disorders and vary in severity and type. One of the other key facts that I learned is that mental health disorders are often comorbid, meaning that a person may have one or more diagnosed mental health disorder. Studies have shown a strong connection between depression and anxiety as well as a possible link to smoking. How often do we think of depression or anxiety as being a mental disorders much less being linked or interrelated? The training class also offered an introduction to a teaching style that I had never experienced. The presenters were in various stages of their own recovery processes. Donna and Lori shared their personal stories of recovery and led the class through lectures and hands on activities that encouraged learning and understanding. They have used their personal experiences and obtained training and certification through the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network (GMHCN) Peer Support Institute and CPS Project to help in their personal recovery, to provide public education and to help others on the road to recovery. Does that give you pause for thought? Having a mental health disorder does not mean that there is something wrong with you. It means that you may have a chemical imbalance that requires some form of treatment, whether it is counseling, medication or cognitive behavioral therapy to help you develop coping skills and treatments to manage your disorder. The bottom line is that mental health disorders can affect anyone, but they are manageable. If you do need help, please reach out to someone. The road to recovery is best not undertaken alone. I wish you good mental health and may your road to recovery have limited bumps and potholes! If you need counselor support or want to know more about mental health disorders, please contact your local Family Assistance Center Specialist (FAS). If you need help finding your local FAS, please visit www.Georgiaguardfamilyprogram.org. If you are interested in learning more about Peer Support programs, please go to www.gmhcn.org or www.gacps.org. References 1. Kessler  RC,  Chiu  WT,  Demler  O,  Walters  EE.  Prevalence,   severity,  and  comorbidity  of  twelve-­‐month  DSM-­‐IV   disorders  in  the  National  Comorbidity  Survey  Replication   (NCS-­‐R).  Archives  of  General  Psychiatry,  2005  Jun;   62(6):617-­‐27.   2. Substance  Abuse  and  Mental  Health  Services   Administration,  Results  from  the  2011  National  Survey   on  Drug  Use  and  Health:  Mental  Health  Findings,  NSDUH   Series  H-­‐45,  HHS  Publication  No.  (SMA)  12-­‐475.   Rockville,  MD:  Substance  Abuse  and  Mental  Health   Services  Administration,  2012.   By Melissa Dalton
  8. 8. 8 Spring 2016 At the age of 22, he married the former Ms. Barbara Cress, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Cress of Chicago. As he approached the age of 26, he had completed an Air Force assignment as an instructor pilot in the T-33 training aircraft for members of the German Air Force. At the age of 30, Major Lawrence earned a Doctorate Degree in Physical Chemistry from Ohio State University during which time his grade point average (GPA) was above 3.5. His dissertation related to that part of chemistry which involved the conversion of tritium rays to methane gas. At the age of 31, he served two roles in the Air Force; that of an Air Force pilot and also a research scientist in the Air Force Weapon's Laboratory at Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico. At the age of 32, Major Lawrence was a senior pilot with over 2,500 flying hours, 2,000 of these in jet aircraft. Major Lawrence successfully completed the Air Force Test Pilot Training School at Edwards Air Force Base in June 1967 and was selected to become an astronaut in the USAF's Manned Orbiting Laboratory and therein becoming the First African American Astronaut on June 10, 1967. Major Lawrence's contribution to the current space program can be found in his early work as a test pilot who flew several of the F-104 Starfighter jet aircraft approach and landings tests at Edwards Air Force Base located in California. It had been observed in the mid 1960's that if an F-104 was flown in a certain configuration (that is, landing gear extended, speed brakes down and drag chute open to increase the force of drag) that it could be used to test various theories regarding the gliding of a space vehicle to a landing on earth similar to that of the landing of the X-15 test aircraft. Major Lawrence, as a test pilot flew several research flights in the F- 104 in an effort to test various theories related to un-powered flight that has led up to the present day design of the Orbiter that will permit it to glide from space to the landing that can be viewed on television during every Space Shuttle mission. The Orbiter, unlike a passenger jet aircraft does not have engines mounted under its wings or at the rear that an airline pilot can use to control the landing of such a large jet aircraft. At an altitude of approximately 200 miles, the Orbiter "breaks out of its circular orbit" and glides back to earth for landing. The Orbiter has to land successfully each time, because it, as previously indicated, has no engines to attempt a second approach. This design did not instantly occur on a designer's drafting board, but is the end result of years of research flying dating back as far as the 1950's during which time a variety of aircraft were used to test various theories regarding un-powered flight. The most popular aircraft of this generation is the X-15. It is at this point in the evolution of a space vehicle that would have the capability of gliding to earth Major Lawrence's contribution begins to emerge. While Major Lawrence flew several F-104 simulated landings, the flight in which he lost his life was a flight in which he flew in the role of co-pilot and instructor pilot when the student that he was instructing lost control of the aircraft, leading to the crash that took his life. In addition to the above, it has been pointed out that Major Lawrence was selected as an astronaut for a mission that the general public would view as the International Space Station. During the days of Major Lawrence, the program was given the name of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. As an astronaut, Major Lawrence emerges as one of the early pioneers of the space program by assisting in the development and testing of a variety of odd hybrid vehicles that would one day take man into space. In addition, he helped pioneer many of the astronaut training programs. If there were no individuals willing to go through the risks and dangers associated with extended space flight, there would not be a space station. The development and evolution of the many space station designs over the past 30 years was possible because of men like Major Lawrence and all of the other astronauts who had overcome the fears, risks and dangers associated with space flight. It is both fitting and proper that visitors in general, and African Americans in specific, of this website remember Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. because he gave African Americans the history wherein the early development of America's space program cannot be written without including African Americans. In addition, major Lawrence left African Americans a strong presence and legacy in regard to the early development and evolution of America's space program because he took the risk and paid with his life. In this regard, African Americans have continued to play a significant part in the space program. Since the Space Shuttle became operational, African Americans have held all of the positions associated with a Space Shuttle Crew. These positions are Mission Specialist, Pilot and Commander. It is hoped that the brief sketch that we have researched would inspire other African Americans to become astronauts and continue this African American legacy and tradition. Courtesy of the USAF and the Real African American History Website at: http://www.raahistory.com/military/airforce/lawre nce/lawrence.htm Please see NASA Web and the RAAH Website for more links and interesting information concerning this real-life hero. Some additional sources are: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7018497/ns/news- black_history_month/t/unsung-astronaut/#.UerVmGR4ZGU https://intern.nasa.gov/intern/content/news-room/inspiration-and-a- story-of-historical-excellence/index.html The Free and the Brave! …Continued from Page 4 FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
  9. 9. 9 Spring 2016 Georgia One is an initiative by the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to provide convenient access, service accountability, and an improved customer experience for those in need of our services. Through a combination of technology and self- service options, DFCS is able to provide Food Stamp, TANF, Childcare and Medicaid benefit recipients the opportunity to track and manage their benefits throughout the entire process. Moving Forward Together we are able to serve our customers more efficiently and effectively. Georgia DFCS has made several changes in order to provide convenient access and better customer service to its customers. For your convenience, you can now apply for Food Stamp and Childcare benefits at any computer with Internet access via www.compass.ga.gov. Renewals for Food Stamp, TANF, Childcare and Medicaid benefits can also be done at www.compass.ga.gov. Paper applications are still available. If you would like a paper application, please request one at your local DFCS office. We now also offer on-demand interviewing. Call 1- 877-423-4746 during regular business hours to complete your interview and to get questions answered by the next available case manager regarding your case. Wait times may vary depending on call volume. Convenient Access to Benefits Service Accountability Improving the Customer Experience Service accountability is important to us. Georgia DFCS wants customers to feel that they can count on us to get the job done right the first time. Document imaging kiosks will be available in DFCS offices so that customers can scan verification documents that can be accessed by a team of case managers. Tracking number receipts that are provided for scanned verification documents will include the date and time of submission. These receipts will allow you to track your documents through the process. The tracking number can also assist case managers in locating your documents. In order to scan in verification documents, and to track and manage your benefits you will need to set up a “mycompass” account at www.compass.ga.gov. Instructions on how to create a “mycompass” account are available at your county DFCS office. We have heard our customers loud and clear. Less wait times and improved customer service are coming your way! Through the implementation of technology such as document imaging kiosks, and self-service options like on-demand interviewing, we aim to cut down on the time customers spend at DFCS offices. As you enter the lobby, someone will be on hand to answer questions and guide you to the area you need that best serves you. This person is called a ‘navigator' and will ask you the reason for your visit to the office such as “are you there to drop off verification?” or “do you need to speak with a case manager?” Phones and computers will also be available at offices so that you are able to access Georgia COMPASS to complete applications or renewals, or speak to the next available case manager via phone for assistance. All of these changes are being made to better serve you, the customer. To contact DHS, call 1-877-423-4746 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Apply online 24/7 at www.compass.ga.gov Reference Georgia One Brochure, Georgia Department of Human Services (June 2013). FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 CChhaannggeess aarree ccoommiinngg ttoo yyoouurr LLooccaall DDFFCCSS OOffffiiccee By: TTiinniiee SSttrriinnggffiieelldd
  10. 10. 10 Spring 2016 Your Georgia Yellow Ribbon Team FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 From left to right: SGT Andandrio Reams, SPC Joshua Tinnan, 1LT Eboni Walker, SPC Darryl Rivers, SSG Rolonzo Williams
  11. 11. 11 Spring 2016 Welcome to the Military Community and Family Policy Weekly eNewsletter! This month the Weekly will focus on highlighting news and information that support the June theme, Summer Fun and Fitness, including this week's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Tip of the Week: Staying Fit, Healthy and Injury Free. The link below will open up the MC&FP Weekly eNewsletter in your browser. If the link below does not work, please copy and paste the entire link into your browser window. http://www.militaryonesource.mil/mcf p/weekly Jani McGee Georgia Military OneSource Joint Family Support Assistance Program 404 307-5827 Cell Jani.mcgee@militaryonesource.com Visit www.militaryonesource.mil or call 1-800-342-9647 FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 What is USERRA? The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is a federal law that establishes rights and responsibilities for uniformed service members and their civilian employers. USERRA is a federal law intended to ensure that persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other uniformed services: (1) are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; (2) are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and (3) are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present, or future military service. The law is intended to encourage uniformed service so that the United States can enjoy the protection of those services, staffed by qualified people, while maintaining a balance with the needs of private and public employers who also depend on these same individuals. USERRA protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to perform service in the uniformed services to include certain types of service in the National Disaster Medical System and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service. USERRA affects employment, reemployment and retention in employment, when employees serve in the uniformed services. USERRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against past and present members of the uniformed services, and applicants to the uniformed services. ESGR informs and educates service members and their civilian employers regarding their rights and responsibilities governed by USERRA. ESGR does not enforce USERRA, but serves as a neutral, free resource for employers and service members. The Georgia National Guard Employer Support Specialist is Penelope Harbour. She is available to answer USERRA questions. She can be reached at 678-569-5738 or penelope.harbour.ctr@mail.mil.
  12. 12. 12 Spring 2016 FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
  13. 13. 13 Spring 2016 Over the last few months we have been called to recognize and celebrate people in a variety of categories. We recognized Spouse Appreciation Month, Month of the Military Child, Memorial Day, Mother's and Father's Day. Typically, as a Service Member, these are days we pause if only for a moment to recognize those who support us along our journey and pave the way for a better tomorrow. On Mother's and Father's Day we recognize our parents who taught us basic life values and held us accountable when we swayed off course. During Month of the Military Child, we look around to see the sacrifices our military children and youth make as we do all that is required for our civilian and military obligations. On Memorial Day, we remember that many before us and around have sacrificed their lives in defense of our great nation. Unfortunately, all too often, as these days of recognition pass, we go on with our busy lives and forget how important others are to us. We are too busy to call our parents and say thank you for who you are and all you do. We send our children away as we manage the emails and telephone calls on a bright Saturday afternoon. We become frustrated with our spouses and significant others over insignificant acts and/or words. We fail to comprehend that there are no guarantees in life and those with us today may not be with us tomorrow. FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 Perhaps we need to simply recognize that every day is a time to celebrate those directly and indirectly in our life. Every day we should take time to say thank you to those closest to us and make a point of sharing words of encouragement with others. It only takes a little time and means so much to those receiving words of gratitude. It is often said, we should treat others as if today were our last day. Really we should treat others as if today is their last day. Sometimes we get into a rut and can't seem to find our way. We are critical thinkers and can't seem to shut it off. The good news is the Georgia National Guard provides services, support and referrals if you want to improve your quality of life. Joint and Family Services has a variety of services available to assist to include Employment Assistance, Financial Support, Financial Counseling, Tricare and Veteran's Administration Advisement, and Child/Youth/Adult Counseling Services. The important thing to remember is you as a Service or Family member are not at it alone. These services are free and confidential. Contact your Family Assistance Specialists and let us know what we can do to assist. SGM L CALLIE LEAVER SGM, GAARNG
  14. 14. 14 Spring 2016FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 The FOCAL POINT! Newsletter, Volume 4: Greetings again, I love doing these newsletters, especially when I am more editor-in-chief (pun intended) than writer. Oh, it isn't that I don't like writing, but it is more like: I write some 20+ pages a week for school (sometimes much more), try to comment regularly on my blog, do required class discussion questions online, and battle the usual headaches from staring at the screen (or books) for too long. I am (in my parlance, at least) very blessed that I can actually see the screen, and that any ailments I have do not incapacitate me completely. This will be my last effort as editor, however, as I simply cannot keep up with all of you. Back to newsletters, I intend to contribute as much as possible to this document, which is now in its fourth full version and has seen, at last count, 53 issues [the first issues were a weekly, or twice a week (sometimes more), email blog]. I can only see it improving from here, and I really hope that it is being circulated throughout the GA Dept. of Defense. Lately, however, I have been busy retiring, getting VA Disability stuff under control, and generally keeping my wife, Jennifer, busy driving me around. I will do the best I can for all of you, and though I will have to turn over the editorship, I will surely contribute as often as possible. Since our last newsletter, we have seen media frenzies, Independence Day, and more rain than we ever expected for a Georgia Summer. Nothing is status quo these days, but then U.S. Service Members understand flexibility. A favorite saying I borrowed from some leader is "Semper Gumby," meaning forever flexible. That is, interestingly, the story of true military service. Since our last writing, I retired out of Fort Benning, medically. This simply means that the challenges in my life took an new and interesting turn (again) and that I am doing a great many things for far less than I did them for before retirement. It is not a problem as the Christian Bible teaches me to be a servant first, before being a leader. That is a hard lesson for me, but I am learning. I want to share one last thing with you, should my editorials and articles get shorter, or disappear altogether. I respect the servant leaders of the U.S. Armed Services. Oh, I have met some bad ones, and perhaps some would say I fit that category from their perspective, but the vast majority of you are of the finest grade. Remember to serve before you lead, look forward (using the strengths of the people around you as assets in your team), never forget the family (not just the ones at home, but the ones on either side of you), color and ethnic origin (or whatever other discriminators) are worthless distinctions in combat (but they improve you and your family-team by helping you grow with new experiences and knowledge), and never forget General George Washington's quote (that also lines the inner wall of the auditorium complex at Arlington National Cemetery), "When I assumed the Soldier, I did not lay down the Citizen. (Capitalization added)" Be humble, be proud, be strong, hold on to the values of the service as if they were your very blood and breath, and live honorably above all else. I will always love all of you! As always, I am your brother in service to God and Country, CW2 (Ret) Barry D. Long Sign Up Now to Interview for the Upcoming Welding Class The GA National Guard Joint and Family Services in collaboration with The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada and Australia are happy to announce the upcoming United Association of Veterans In Piping (VIP) Welding Program starting on 23 September 2013. Class participants will be selected through an interview process. Interviews will take place on Monday, 29 July 2013 at the VIP Welding School located at 1445 Trae Lane, Lithia Springs GA 30122. This 18-week welder training program will train students to become a certified pipe welder. The class is tuition- free, meaning no cost to the student. At this time, a stipend is not offered rather this is a FREE chance to gain employment upon program completion. No prior experience is necessary. Applicants must be interested in a career in the pipe trades, be an active or honorably discharged veteran, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be physically capable of performing work. All classes and equipment will be provided to program attendees at no cost. Applicants with prior welding skills may be tested and accelerated through the program. Learn more information by watching the UA Veterans In Piping on TV video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tLA1EwdwLw. If selected for the program, classes will be from 7 AM until 5:30 PM Monday through Thursday. Evening training may be required as well. Adequate breaks are provided throughout the training. To request an interview, register NLT than 19 July 2013 at www.surveymonkey.com/s/VIPWeldingclass. For more information, contact Lacy Turner at 678-569- 5781 or Lacy.P.Turner.NFG@mail.mil.
  15. 15. 15 Spring 2016 The Georgia National Guard J9 Employment Assistance Team in conjunction with the State Education Office is working to assist service members and their spouses in their efforts to obtain employment. In addition to helping you with the steps shown below, we can assist with converting military training and skills to civilian and keep you abreast of upcoming job fairs and workshops. Follow the steps below to success! Remember to "Like" us on facebook (www.facebook.com/GeorgiaNationalGuardJobAssistanceCenter) for the most recent job listings and events! FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 Attention GA Guard Job Seekers
  16. 16. 16 Spring 2016FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 GEORGIA NATIONAL GUARD FAMILY SUPPORT FOUNDATION, INC. 1000 HALSEY AVE BLDG 447 840 FINCH CENTER MARIETTA, GA 30060 678-569-5704 (tel) www.georgiaguardfamily.org The Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt charitable organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service STOP BY A KANGAROO EXPRESS STORE to support the third annual “SALUTE  OUR  TROOPS”  Campaign! June 26-September 1, 2013! Salute Our Troops to benefit the GA National Guard Foundation!  The Salute Our Troops fundraising campaign invites Kangaroo Express customers in more than 1,550 convenience stores across 13 states to demonstrate united support for military personnel and their families. From June 26 th to September 3rd, Kangaroo Express will once again invite store guests to make donations to the campaign, directly benefiting the USO, Fisher House Foundation and six state-based military support organizations, including the Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation, Inc. as the military relief organization in Georgia for the THIRD YEAR!  Salute Our Troops celebrations will be held throughout the southeastern United States, as led by the Salute Our Troops Dragster Tour.  Celebrations will also include the Salute Our Troops Roo2 Unit, where guests will add their own voice of gratitude  with  “shout outs”  of  pride  and  appreciation.  Many  will  be  showcased  on  the  Salute  Our  Troops   website at www.KESalute.com.
  17. 17. 17 Spring 2016 Youth News By: Mark D. Richards The 2013-14 Georgia Military Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) is a leadership component of Georgia Operation Military Kids (OMK), reconvened on 21-24 June 2013. The Advisory Council is comprised of 14 high school age military youth from across the state representing all branches of the active, guard and reserve components. Council members met at Rock Eagle 4-H Center to participate in teambuilding and advocacy training workshops. Together, Youth Advisory Council members identified issues specific to Georgia military youth and developed possible solutions to the issues they identified. The MYAC successfully advocated on behalf of their peers during this years’ session. The final leg of the Advisory Council session included meetings with the Georgia Department of Education representatives; Dr. John Barge; State School Superintendent, Dr. Mike Buck; Chief Academic Officer, and other senior education officials. During this meeting council members shared strategies to improve and support military youth in schools throughout Georgia. The council also visited Dobbins ARB where they met with Colonel Thomas Blackstock, Georgia National Guard’s Chief of Joint Staff. Council members shared their concerns about public awareness of the military. This year’s Military Youth Advisory Council was successful in developing military youth’s leadership skills and served as motivation for participants continued efforts in advocating on behalf of their peers who share the same challenges of being children of service members. YYOOUUTTHH CCOOUUNNCCIILL FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
  18. 18. FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013 TRICARE User Fees Update: By Amador Rodriguez In what may be a sign of things to come, the Pentagon’s request for higher fees for TRICARE users was quickly deep-sixed last week by the first group of lawmakers to consider it. The House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel rejected nearly all of the fee increases found in the president’s budget for fiscal 2014. It left alone an increase for $12 to $16 in co-payments for outpatient care under TRICARE Prime for retirees under age 65. According to news reports, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), the subcommittee chairman, made clear immediately that the TRICARE fee increases would not receive approval. "Congress spoke last year and the year before on this issue," he said to open the meeting. "So I find it difficult to understand the department’s continued effort to increase these fees especially when the department’s estimates of health care cost growth have been wrong. They have continued to reprogram money from the defense health program for other purposes." Under the president’s plan, most TRICARE fees would increase over time to help pay for increased personnel costs that Pentagon officials say threaten the ability to purchase new weapons systems and prepare the force for war. For example, the deductible for families using TRICARE would go from $300 now to $400 in 2015 and then jump $60 each year from 2016 to 2018. [Source: NGAUS Washington Report 28 May 2013 ++] JJ--99 JJOOIINNTT AANNDD FFAAMMIILLYY SSEERRVVIICCEESS DDIIRREECCTTOORRAATTEE “Military Personnel, Families, and Veterans First!” The J-9 Joint and Family Services Directorate and The Georgia Guard Family Program: Our directorate services the military community of Georgia, providing those services, support and information that are vital to their care. Our staff is committed to providing the best care, in a timely manner, and followed-thru to a successful conclusion so that Military Personnel, their families, and Veterans in Georgia will have the resources, help, and information they need to thrive. Georgia Department of Defense 1388 First Street, Bldg 840 (Finch Bldg) 1000 Halsey Avenue, Bldg 447, Mailroom Marietta, GA 30060 Point of Contact: CW2 Barry D. Long Human Resources/Systems/AT SO/Safety Officer barry.long@us.army.mil