More than 21,000 surviving Army and Air Force spouses and family members live in the Pacific Northwest, according to officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. They range from people who lost a loved one in combat, to those whose husband or wife died after retiring from the uniformed service.
They come in all ages, but they have this in common: a need for some kind of help with the next phase of life – everything from Social Security survivorship pay to funeral and burial benefits, from grief support to wills and powers of attorney, from parenting resources to resume preparation.
Friday is a time dedicated to these people, as Lewis-McChord hosts its annual Surviving Family Members Appreciation Day from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the American Lake Community Center.
The keynote speaker at the 8 a.m. opening event will be Alicia “Allie” Franklin, a former Air Force captain, who is also a bereaved sibling. She is internationally recognized for her presentations on children and grief and grieving families.
Information and service booths open at 9:30 a.m., and close at 1 p.m. Free child care and health/wellness screenings will be offered.
Family Members who do not have a Department of Defense installation vehicle access decal should call the JBLM Survivor Outreach Services Office, at (253) 967-7501 or (253) 363-0397, to find out how to gain access to the event.