Airmen, families attend first White Ribbon event

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Catharine Schmidt
  • 109th AW Public Affairs
As the 109th Airlift Wing prepares to launch its 28th season supporting Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica, the Airman and Family Readiness Programs office held the first-ever White Ribbon event for Airmen and their families, offering information on benefits and services available to them while their loved one is away.

The White Ribbon is very similar to the Yellow Ribbon events offered to those affected by contingency deployments. The White Ribbon is unique to the 109th AW because of their annual deployments to McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

"I thought it was very important to pull together some kind of event where families could come, they could get information, they could get resources, and they could get hooked up with these resources," said Colleen Casey, 109th AFRP manager.

Casey said when she took the position here earlier in the year, she learned about the 109th's unique mission and wanted to put something together to let the Airmen and families affected by ODF each year know what resources were available to them.

Multiple vendors were at the event, providing information on what resources they could provide. Vendors included the New York State Child and Youth Program and Teen Council, the American Red Cross, Military One Source, Blue Star Mothers of America, Saratoga Warhorse as well as on-base resources such as the Chaplain Corps, Director of Psychological Health and the all-volunteer 109th Family Matters Group.

"I feel like this is going to be great for my wife because it gives her a little bit more information of when I'm gone what different outlets she might have," said Staff Sgt. James Comstock, 109th Logistics Readiness Squadron customer service representative. This will be his third ODF deployment.

"I think this program is great, and I'm glad that they're offering it" said Jenna Herdrick, whose husband has deployed to Antarctica for multiple years. "I think it's going to benefit me by knowing the services (that are offered)."

Casey said the event was a success and is planning to offer this each year before the ODF season begins.

"We're having a great turnout - I'm so excited to see all the Airmen (and) families here," she said.