AFAP addressing Area II's housing, commissary issues
November 30, 2004
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Commissary hours, housing services, high-school credit transfers, restriction of driving privileges and ramp access on housing areas are among the most critical issues military officials in Area II are working to solve.
That’s according to working groups of soldiers and family members who attended the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) conference earlier this year. AFAP has been around for 20 years, officials said, but not all community members know it exists.
On Jan. 15, the AFAP steering committee will report on which issues can be taken care of at the Area II level and which need to be sent up to 8th Army or higher, officials said.
Many of the top five issues, identified by working groups of adults and teenagers in the community, already are being addressed, officials said. Military commands are working on improving the housing portion of the newcomers briefing and are supplementing welcome packets with more housing options.
A request to modify the commissary hours already has been forwarded to the Defense Commissary Agency. Military officials are working with the Department of Defense Dependents Schools system to re-evaluate how high school credits are transferred between schools.
More difficult issues, like adding sick leave to the Leave Donation Program — which currently involves only annual leave — are being forwarded to higher levels.
In April, AFAP teams from throughout South Korea are to meet for the 8th Army AFAP conference, where they’ll address issues affecting all bases on the peninsula.
“The program was started by spouses as a way to develop a program where issues could be sent to the commands and be heard,” said Kathy McNulty, one of several AFAP volunteer staffers and wife of Area II commander Col. Timothy McNulty.
The program relies on volunteers to attend the meetings, identify important issues and staff the AFAP program. In Area II, there is only one full-time, paid staffer: Antionetta Rolack.
AFAP is always seeking more staff to help out, she said.
Rolack also runs the Army Family Team Building program, which offers three levels of family courses ranging from strengthening family relationships to learning about military benefits and entitlements.
“All of it improves mission readiness,” McNulty said. “It covers everything from learning acronyms to reading a leave and earnings statement to becoming a leader and trainer yourself.”