Staff Sgt. Todd L. Pouliot
10th Combat Aviation Brigade PAO NCOIC
Family readiness group volunteers of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade cut a ribbon to officially open the unit’s Yellow Ribbon Room during a ceremony April 16 at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
The room is part of the Falcon Family Readiness Center, centrally located on the airfield, where Families and Soldiers can go to find a wide range of support. The FFRC houses the brigade’s family readiness support assistants, military family life consultant, Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention coordinator, equal opportunity adviser and the master resiliency trainer.
Before moving the offices into one building earlier this spring, they were scattered over several locations on the airfield. Because of the private nature of what these offices handle, the brigade strove to find a safe, comfortable location away from the chain of command.
“It was a team effort,” said Jackie Sharpe, 10th CAB FRSA, who had a major role in transforming an Aviation Life Support Equipment workshop into the FFRC. “The civilians who work at the (Directorate) of Public Works were very helpful in repurposing the building. Soldiers and civilians from the brigade assisted with the painting and setting up the space.”
In an effort to save money, furniture and decorations were acquired by donations or bought at the Fort Drum Thrift Store.
“The commander’s intent was to have a warm, inviting meeting and educational space for the Soldiers and Family Members of the brigade,” Sharpe said. The Yellow Ribbon Room, with seating capacity for up to 75 people, comfortably satisfies the commander’s intent.
Kim Neal, FRG leader for C Troop, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, painted colorful 10th CAB-themed murals on the room’s walls. She was given the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon with large scissors in appreciation for the many hours she gave painting the murals.
“I’ve never done a mural before,” said Neal, who spent about 75 hours painting the murals over 12 days. “I’m a craft vendor, and I just spoke up that I do painting.”
Abbie L. Hammond, FRSA for 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Tigershark, and 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Knighthawk, reiterated the importance of the facility, especially its functionality and austerity.
“This is a place for the FRGs to have events that is free and has enough space,” Hammond said. “It’s hard to find a building (that) is free and large enough for more than 20 people.”
Additionally, the facility has a TV, DVD player, blank wall and projector for movie nights, a kitchenette for single Soldier dinners and potlucks, and two volunteer child care rooms.
“With budgetary restraints, I think it’s unique that we’ve been able to take a Soldier’s work space building and turn it into what we have here,” Sharpe said. “Very little government funds were spent on this building – just time and paint.”
The collaboration and coordination of civilians, volunteers and Soldiers turned a well-worn work space into a warm comfortable space for 10th CAB Families and Soldiers, a space that will be used and appreciated as the unit tackles its current nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.