Program provides support to families of fallen Airmen|
by Christin Michaud
Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs
11/23/2011 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- A long-term aftercare program has been established to provide dedicated support to Air Force families who have lost an Airman.
Air Force Families Forever, a program named by a family member of an Airman who died, provides periodic outreach through phones calls, letters and handwritten cards.
"Air Force Families Forever is the first of its kind in providing compassionate, intentional outreach to families of our fallen Airmen," explained Robin Raine, Families of the Fallen Support Branch chief.
The outreach program also provides referrals to counseling and support groups, a support network and helpful resources to help families throughout their grieving, according to Sadiqa Moore, family support coordinator.
Moore works with families of anyone who has died on active-duty throughout the Air Force.
She also assists those families who come through Dover Air Force Base, Del., to attend a dignified transfer of a loved one who died while serving in support of a contingency operation.
Air Force Families Forever provides a single point of contact for support.
"When someone experiences a loss as great as the death of a loved one, it is important to know that there is someone available to support them through such a difficult time," said Moore. "They don't have the energy to look for resources. That's where we come in, to relieve them of the burden."
A quarterly newsletter supplements the Network to impart more information and education, and to share stories, poems, pictures, important dates submitted by family members, said Raine.
"We also facilitate the Air Force Family Support Network by being a conduit for family members to be in touch with each other," she said. "Who could be of better support than someone who is suffering a similar loss?"
For Moore, being in a position as a family support coordinator and helping those who are in such a devastating point in their life is a rewarding job, but has its challenges.
"The biggest challenge I face with doing this job, is wanting to erase the pain they are feeling," explained Moore. "It becomes difficult at times not being able to separate myself from the emotions the families are experiencing."
Moore said she also wishes she could give them the answer to one of their biggest questions: Why did it happen to their loved one?
"I've worked with patients who were ill, injured, and near death as a medic in the Army, and even worked closely with survivors with casualty benefits, but this job has given me a different perspective," Moore said. "With this being long-term outreach, I'm with them throughout their ride on the emotional rollercoaster."