Joint Base Elmendorf – Richardson Community
Willow Military and Family Support Center
The Willow Military & Family Support Center (MFSC) is one of the largest and busiest in the Air Force. Its mission is to support readiness and unit retention by helping individuals and families adapt to the demands of military life and by assisting unit leadership in responding effectively to family needs. The center is in the oldest building on base, a log cabin built by volunteers in 1942. The staff provides programs and services designed to help families meet the challenges of military life in Alaska.
Information, referral and follow-up counseling keep members apprised of the numerous human service agencies available in Anchorage. Additionally, the Military & Family Life Consultant (MFLC) program provides short-term crisis intervention counseling.
JBER-Elmendorf has one of the most active Key Spouse programs in the USAF. With more than 100 Key Spouses actively involved, this group meets and trains frequently. These Key Spouses are a valuable resource for commanders and first sergeants, ensuring that information is available to meet the needs of Air Force families at JBER.
The center’s Hearts Apart Program provides support to families whose military member is deployed or serving a remote tour. Hearts Apart offers information and referral, personal support and group activities.
The MFSC’s Employment Education and Skills Development programs are among the best in the military. A comprehensive employment assistance program provides information and extensive referrals to the local job market, a career interest survey and a top-notch resume assistance service. Additionally, spouses can attend a number of employment seminars on everything from interviewing techniques and professional job search skills to navigating the federal government’s employment site, USAJobs.
Closely related is the MFSC Transition Assistance Program (TAP), designed to help active-duty people retiring or separating from the military. In addition to employment concerns, TAP counselors can assist with information on benefits and entitlements and provide links to an established network of agencies in the local area. Working closely with the state Department of Labor and the Department of Veterans Affairs, TAP helps veterans get the right information when they need it.
The MFSC also maintains a state-of-the-art resource center. The resource center provides computers and laser printers for clientele to use during all aspects of a comprehensive job search. It is equipped with resume software; application software, with information for both federal and state employment; job search software, including America’s Job Bank; and other resources. Help is available for using the hardware and software.
The Volunteer Resource Program provides centralized recruitment, training and recognition. Family members wishing to volunteer can meet with a staff member who will help them review options and who can provide information on the wealth of volunteer opportunities on JBER and in the local community. MFSC provides information and education on financial matters. Individual consultation is offered for those in trouble financially, people wanting to make the most of their money, and everyone in between. Basic Budgeting, Identity Theft, Saving and Investing, Retirement, Power Pay, Home Buying and Credit Report Reviews are just a few of the services offered.
The Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) program is also in the center. AFAS offers loans and grants to help Air Force members meet the basic needs of day-to-day living and emergency situations. The program also offers loans and grants for special circumstances, including permanent change of station relocation and scholarships for family members.
The MFSC is the base focal point for Relocation Assistance. Counselors provide guidance on relocation concerns. A “kid’s smooth move” seminar is offered monthly to help ease stress in children on the move. Information on crossing the Canadian border, traveling across the United States and getting established in Alaska or future locations is available. Through referrals to other agencies, the MFSC helps meet the needs of members in or out of Alaska.
The MFSC also plays a crucial role in base readiness by helping service members and their families, Department of Defense civilians and their families prepare for and cope with deployment, extended temporary duty and remote assignments.
Air Force Wounded Warriors (AFW2) and their families have found the Log Cabin to be a place for help. Our AFW2 counselors are available whenever needed and take care of the Warriors and their families, surpassed by none. The center’s staff provides leadership consultation service to commanders and first sergeants. This includes keeping commanders informed on issues and trends that affect their organizations as well as helping them use appropriate resources to meet individual or unit family concerns.
The MFSC also provides a Loan Closet equipped with household items for temporary loan to relocating members waiting for delivery of their household goods. The loan closet is open daily by appointment. The MFSC staff is dedicated to providing timely, professional service to meet the needs of JBER families. For more information, call the Log Cabin at 907-552-4943.