Schriever families bond during deployed family event

Schriever families bond during deployed family event

Schriever Air Force Base Airmen and their families gather for a deployed family event at Skate City in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. Families enjoyed free pizza, roller-skating and arcade games during the event, which was designed to bring the families of deployed Airmen together. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Wes Wright)

Schriever families bond during deployed family event

Tech. Sgt. Arnold Collins, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron requirements and optimization flight NCO in charge, and his son Amare, 8, play an arcade game during a deployed family event at Skate City in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. The Schriever Airman and Family Readiness Center designed the event to help families of deployed Airmen during the deployment and reintegration process. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Wes Wright)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Schriever families connected and bonded during a deployed family event hosted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Skate City in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sunday Aug. 27.

“The goal of the program is to reach out to our deployed members and families as they go through the deployment and re-integration process,” said Master Sgt. Peter Uson, A&FRC NCO in charge. “It provides support, resources and most importantly the sense of belonging. It reminds them that they are part of a bigger family--the military family."

The phrase “family takes care of family” is prevalent throughout all the events the A&FRC hosts and is what draws many of the attendees.

“That theme embodies what is best about the military and why I’ve stayed in as long as I have,” said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Locke, 50th Space Communication Squadron vulnerability manager. “Some people say ‘I like the job.’ There is so much more. It’s about people. There’s that sense of belonging and camaraderie. Not matter what, people will make the extra effort to take care of the person to their left and right.”

Locke recently returned from a six month deployment, and his son, Kendrew Locke, 8, was happy to have his dad back and with him at the event.

“I feel very happy my dad is back,” Kendrew said. “When he came back I hanged on him for a while. I had a lot of fun here with him. My favorite part was skating. I want to do this again.”

Tech. Sgt. Arnold Collins, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron requirements and optimization flight NCO in charge, also took advantage of the reintegration opportunity with his family.

“Having this program is huge,” Collins said. “My family didn’t miss a beat. My wife said this is one of the best deployments we’ve been through because of this program.”

According to Uson, Schriever’s deployed family member program affords unique opportunities due to its relatively small size.

“It allows us to provide support on a personal level and actually create that feeling of a family,” Uson said. “For one day, it gives them a break from the deployment mindset (especially the children) and gives them the chance to enjoy and meet other families going through the same situation.”

While Uson is quick to defer praise for his involvement with the program, Locke and Collins both pointed to his personal commitment to the program as the main reason it is so successful.

“At one point, my wife needed a break and sergeant Uson took the kids for the weekend,” Collins said. “Another time, we had car problems and she called him up. He helped out and that was amazing. You don’t have to worry about home when you have someone like Sergeant Uson in your corner. Your family is in real good hands with a person like that.”

Uson finds the trust placed in him the most rewarding part of the job.

“In this program I get to build relationships and trust with our deployed families,” Uson said. “To know that they consider me and my family as part of their family and to be able to build that trust where they won't hesitate to ask for help if they need to is very rewarding.”

Private base organizations such as the Chief’s Group, Top III, The 5/6 Club and others are the primary financial sponsors of the program. This particular event was sponsored by the Schriever chapter of the Air Force Sergeant’s Association.

The donations by people who have never met the deployed families means a lot to people like Locke.

“A huge thank you to everybody who has made this possible and will continue to make this possible,” Locke said. “It speaks to just how important family is in the military. Outside, the bottom line is the dollar. In the Air Force its people and I think that’s why the public trusts us, because we trust each other.”

The date for the next deployed family event hasn’t been set yet, but it will be at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. To sign up, or for more information, contact Uson at 567-7393.