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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
The Free and the Brave
“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
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
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
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
By Melissa Dalton
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of
power and of love and of a sound mind.” Timothy
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.
FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
United States Air
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
Born: October 2,
1935, Chicago, IL
Died: December 8,
1967, Edwards Air Force
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
Outstanding Service Awards – Army
Dorothy Cave – 179th
Kay Coots – A Btry, 1-214th
Christi Fulgham – A Btry, 1-118th
Wendy Davison – A Trp, 3-108th
Judith Dreher – 179th
Britni Fleming – 810th
Megan Harpine - HHC, 1st
Peggy Harris – F Co, 148th
Shelie Hedrick – 1st
Holland, Verna – 420th
Emma Gile – Det 1, Co C, 1-185th
Pamela Hughes – HHT, 3-108th
Jan Johnson – B Trp, 3-108th
Kim Nash – 1-185th
Merre Price – 1-214th
Christina Palmer – B Co, 148th
Charlie Rosenquist – C Trp, 1-108th
Sheri Sharer – B Co, 221st
Ernestine Smith – 874th
Leanne Burke Sweeney – 420th
Katelyn Thomas – 810th ;
Rebecca Wheeler – A Co, 221st
Chaundra Whimbush – B Trp, 3-108th
Marisol Williams – A Co, 221st
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
Stacey Roberts – 165th
Army Volunteer of the Year – Lauren Dunham (179th
Air Volunteer of the Year – Judi Lenz (165th
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.
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
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
Assistance Program ( VRAP)
FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
The intent of this program is to provide retraining
for Veterans hardest hit by current economic
The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance
to unemployed Veterans. To qualify, a Veteran
• 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
• Not be in receipt of VA compensation due
• Not be enrolled in a federal or state job
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
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
James Pawlik 404-313-8823
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
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
By Melissa Dalton
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
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
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
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:
Please see NASA Web and the RAAH Website for more links and
interesting information concerning this real-life hero. Some additional
The Free and the Brave! …Continued from Page 4
FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Georgia Military OneSource Joint
Family Support Assistance Program
404 307-5827 Cell
Visit www.militaryonesource.mil or
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
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
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.
Spring 2016FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
The FOCAL POINT! Newsletter, Volume 4:
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
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
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
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
For more information, contact Lacy Turner at 678-569-
5781 or Lacy.P.Turner.NFG@mail.mil.
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
FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
Attention GA Guard Job Seekers
Spring 2016FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
GEORGIA NATIONAL GUARD FAMILY SUPPORT FOUNDATION, INC.
1000 HALSEY AVE BLDG 447
840 FINCH CENTER
MARIETTA, GA 30060
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
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.
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.
FOCAL POINT! SUMMER 2013
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
The J-9 Joint and Family Services Directorate and The Georgia Guard
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.
1388 First Street, Bldg 840
1000 Halsey Avenue, Bldg 447,
Marietta, GA 30060
Point of Contact:
CW2 Barry D. Long