Hearts Apart: 23 FSS hosts dinner for families of deployed

Photo By Airman 1st Class Megan Estrada | Families of U.S. Air Force Airmen wait in a drive-thru for the Hearts Apart family dinner at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Aug. 19, 2021. The Hearts Apart family dinner gives the Moody AFB community an opportunity to connect with their Air Force family while facing the challenges involved while their loved ones are deployed or on a remote tour. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Estrada)



Story by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer 

23rd Wing Public Affairs 

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Georgia – The 23rd Force Support Squadron hosted a free dinner at the Georgia Pines Dining Facility for families of Airmen who are deployed or serving on remote tours, Aug. 19, 2021.

Spouses and children of service members throughout the Air Force have to endure the time away from their loved ones every year. The Hearts Apart family dinner gives the Moody Air Force Base community an opportunity to connect with their Air Force family while enduring this hardship.

“It is important to bring our deployed and remote tour affected families together so they have the opportunity to socially interact and network with others who are in the same situation as them,” said Tech. Sgt. Tony Johnson Jr., 23rd FSS Airman and Family Readiness Center readiness noncommissioned officer. “It is critical they are informed of all the resources and support agencies that are available to them here at Moody.”

As the environment of the military changes, troops of all branches must adapt. The frequency of deployments or remote tour activity can increase or decrease at a moment’s notice, creating a level of uncertainty for their loved ones.

“With the ever changing challenges that come with the military lifestyle, it is vital our families understand they’re not alone,” Johnson said. “I have personally seen the benefit of our families who choose to come together and support one another at events such as this one. Building relationships is key.”

For one spouse, the gesture eases the burden of taking care of her family alone. While the gesture may seem small for some, Danielle Fox has a different outlook.

“I think it helps ease off the responsibility and duty of doing everything solo,” she said. “For me it’s nice because it gives me one less day that I have to sit down to plan a meal and make dinner. It gives us an opportunity to just come and grab something and gives me more time to do things with (my kids) on my own.”

While there are many challenges involved with family separation, the current pandemic poses an additional obstacle. This month’s Hearts Apart family dinner will be held as a drive-thru event.

“Families will still be provided a free meal and have the opportunity to interact with our volunteers who will be there to inform the families of resources that are available for them while their loved ones are away,” Johnson said.

Moody AFB will continue to support families during these hardships and through the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“This shows that we do have support and have people there to help us and get us through this when we don’t have our spouse with us,” Fox said.

For more information about upcoming events or resources, contact the AFRC at 229-257-3333.

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