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Focus on Families

  • Published
  • By Col. John McDonald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Commander
We've proven, after more than a year of planning and a summer's worth of exercising, that Team Pope truly is "excellent." Our four "excellents" from the LSEP, HSI, ATSEP and the ORI speak volumes about your motivation, enthusiasm and commitment. We are proven performers with an insatiable appetite to be the best we can be, and I want you all to refocus your dedication to what guarantees our continued successes, our mantra of People First! 

Taking care of our people is the day-to-day priority for all supervisors, regardless of rank. If we didn't stress this fact continually, our folks would not have the motivation necessary to repeatedly "Wow" our visiting inspection teams or bring home the individual recognition many of you have enjoyed during the recent weeks. However, I believe you cannot be reminded too many times regarding the significance of our family members who are integral in our journey, regardless of the path it takes us. 

Whether it was treating them to the absolutely tremendous Tops In Blue show last evening at the Crown Center, or bringing them out for the week's worth of activities planned for Military Family Appreciation Week. I need you to spend some quality time with the people who matter most before and especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. 

Additionally, I hope you had the chance to thank the local community for their amazing displays of respect and support during this past Veterans Day weekend. Once again, Team Pope was out in full force to march in the parade in downtown Fayetteville, and I know several Airmen -- including myself -- were invited out to smaller gatherings throughout the area meant solely to show appreciation for you and your family, the ones who contribute to the fight day after day. 

Many of you will take your family on the road from now through Jan. 1, visiting family or simply taking some well deserved leave. Whether you know it or not, the time you spend traveling and vacationing is vital to your ability to be ready to come back and tackle the next big challenge. 

However, you know I can't go on without reminding you about the importance of FALLING BACK ON SAFETY! Our wing safety office has been pushing out the message of Fall safety, including the Save A Life Tour that visited on Nov. 3. 

Always practice safe driving habits. If you are driving long distances without stopping or without being well rested, you are setting yourself up for an accident . Remember, during a busy driving period, like immediately before the holidays, there will be more people rushing to get home and more susceptible to making mistakes or driving fatigued. If you have any questions on safe driving practices, call our wing safety office. 

We want you back here ready to go because we're already planning outstanding events for 2009. Super Bowl Bingo is scheduled for Jan. 17, just one day before we find out which two teams will play in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 1. Tickets will go on sale soon, but you can get them free or discounted by playing Beat The Pro, which is on page four of this paper every week. 

And, a little bit further off, we have the Annual Awards Ceremony on Feb. 10. The reason I'm bringing this up so early is because of the guest speaker we'll have that evening, Dan Clark. I'm guessing some of you may have already heard Mr. Clark speak, as he's very popular at our professional development courses at Maxwell AFB and other bases around the country, in addition to being a contributor to the "Chicken Soup" book series.
I first heard Mr. Clark speak at Fall Rally several weeks ago at Scott AFB and I guarantee his presentation alone will be worth the price of admission...and you get dinner too!
Again, thank you for everything you do, and as we enter the upcoming holiday season I can't stress enough for you to continue to FALL BACK ON SAFETY, keep an eye on your WINGMAN and never be THAT GUY!