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News > Keesler initiatives presented at Caring for People Forum
Keesler initiatives presented at Caring for People Forum

Posted 10/2/2012   Updated 10/2/2012 Email story   Print story


by 11th Wing and 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

10/2/2012 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The Air Force's 2012 Caring for People Forum concluded Sept. 27 at Joint Base Andrews, Md., with a presentation of initiatives to members of the Air Force's Community Action Information Board and Integrated Delivery System.

Jackie Pope, 81st Force Support Squadron airman and family readiness center section chief, represented Keesler at the conference.

Since 2009, the Caring for People Forum has evolved into a two-day seminar during which forum attendees divide into working groups at the beginning and develop initiatives to fix Air Force issues that affect Airmen and their families.

More than 140 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Air Force members participated in the forum, each contributing their unique total force perspective on the issues discussed during the working group meetings.

"It was an amazing experience," said Pope, who chairs the Keesler Integrated Resource Team. "Those that attended tackled the 45 issues that were elevated through their respective major commands. As part of the 25-member military support working group, I helped to review, discuss and vote on the four issues we felt like would benefit the most people."

The issues that came out of the four working groups were collectively submitted to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Larry Spencer during a briefing.

"These issues all relate to how the Air Force takes care of its Airmen and their families," said Carl Buchanan, Caring for People Forum manager. "Without the participants' input, we can't achieve the forum's ultimate goal -- making the Air Force better."

During their presentations, group leaders spoke on why initiatives were chosen and how CAIB and IDS members could potentially resolve each concern. Twelve issues were briefed, with top initiatives revolving around similar subject matters.

Some of the discussed initiatives include the Air Force's Exceptional Family Member Program, housing options for single Airmen, and immigration and naturalization assistance programs.

Donley, who spoke at the conclusion of the forum, told the participants there's nothing more important to the Air Force than its Airmen and their families.

"By attending this forum, you have provided leadership with a glimpse into how we can enhance the lives of our most important asset," Donley said. "By attending, you not only help them but have taken steps to actively improve the whole force."

"Seeing the potential for change happen without tons of red tape was really awesome," Pope pointed out. "Knowing that it starts local at each installation's annual Caring for People Forum is really gratifying."

Air Force CAIB and IDS members meet in October to discuss the initiatives and decide upon courses of action to address the concerns.

Senior Airman Lindsey A. Porter, 11th Wing Public Affairs, and Susan Griggs, 81st Training Wing Public Affairs, contributed to this report.

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