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AFRC’s unrelenting support provides comforting constant in COVID-19

Team members of the 100th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center pose for a photo at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 4, 2020. The helping agency has operated continuously throughout the COVID-19 lockdown and is flexible in the communication pathways in which it delivers its support.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Team members of the 100th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center pose for a photo at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 4, 2020. The helping agency has operated continuously throughout the COVID-19 lockdown and is flexible in the communication pathways in which it delivers its support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Master Sgt. Carlos Castro, 100th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center readiness noncommissioned officer, monitors the helping agency’s social media page at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 4, 2020. The AFRC has utilized social media to promote services and opportunities to the base community during the COVID-19 lockdown. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Master Sgt. Carlos Castro, 100th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center readiness noncommissioned officer, monitors the helping agency’s social media page at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 4, 2020. The AFRC has utilized social media to promote services and opportunities to the base community during the COVID-19 lockdown. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Beverly Pineiro, 100th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center supervisory community readiness consultant, advises an Airman about the Transition Assistance Program at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 4, 2020. The AFRC has continued to provide support to separating and retiring service members during the COVID-19 lockdown and has shifted to offering guidance over the phone, through email, and in a video conference format. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Beverly Pineiro, 100th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center supervisory community readiness consultant, advises an Airman about the Transition Assistance Program at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 4, 2020. The AFRC has continued to provide support to separating and retiring service members during the COVID-19 lockdown and has shifted to offering guidance over the phone, through email, and in a video conference format. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Col. Troy Pananon, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Kathi Glascock, 100th ARW command chief, deliver a pre-deployment briefing in the Airman and Family Readiness Center at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 4, 2020. The command team was a special guest for the briefing, where they advised deploying service members while adhering to physical distancing and cloth face-covering guidelines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Col. Troy Pananon, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Kathi Glascock, 100th ARW command chief, deliver a pre-deployment briefing in the Airman and Family Readiness Center at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 4, 2020. The command team was a special guest for the briefing, where they advised deploying service members while adhering to physical distancing and cloth face-covering guidelines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

RAF Mildenhall, England --

The 100th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center at RAF Mildenhall, England, continues to provide unrelenting support for Airmen and families during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The helping agency is still offering programs and services to the base, including the Transition Assistance Program, the Air Force Aid Society, military family life counseling, and financial readiness education.

“We’re open and have been open since the start, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m.,” said Colin Richardson, 100th FSS AFRC flight chief. “We’ve never closed, and we’ve never stopped providing our services.”

The AFRC’s continued operation can be linked to the ability of its team members to adapt how they deliver the agency’s assistance.

“We’ve learned a lot through this whole COVID-19 process,” said Master Sgt. Carlos Castro, 100th FSS AFRC readiness noncommissioned officer. “We’re excited about the changes we’ve been able to make to our programs by making them virtual. It’s been such a growing, humbling experience to see how technology comes through to keep us connected. We’ve morphed into a team that can reach anybody.”

One tool the AFRC is using to reach the base community is social media. The agency is employing the technology to broadcast their message to audiences not always reached through traditional avenues.

“One of our main objectives is to act as a conduit to connect people with resources,” said Beverly Pineiro, 100th FSS AFRC supervisory community readiness consultant. “That includes things like boosting our social media presence to capture our spouses’ attention or building resiliency through the different programs we’re extending through our social media page."

The AFRC team has faced challenges in adjusting to the lockdown, but the new circumstances have resulted in process improvement for the agency.

“Some of the stuff we’ve learned throughout this process we’re going to permanently implement,” said Richardson. “We’re going to go the route of more virtual. One of the hardest things to do in any AFRC is to make sure information is getting home to the spouses, and we’re finding that with this virtual platform, spouses are feeling pretty comfortable about jumping online and talking. No child care is involved and they don’t have to come to the base.”

The AFRC's variety of resources and connections makes it a first point of contact for Airmen and families seeking a solution to their problem.

“We’re never the wrong number to call. If we don’t have the answer, we’ll get it for you,” Castro said. “We’ve got your back all the way.”