Hill introducing sponsorship program for junior Airmen

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Hill Air Force Base has partnered with a local non-profit organization to offer Home Base, a support initiative that focuses on strengthening the resiliency and wellbeing of junior Airmen by pairing them with volunteer families in the local community.

The program, being run by Stand Up USA, matches Airmen with community volunteers who share similar interests, with the aim of getting the Airmen out of the dorms and into a family environment. The volunteers would provide the Airman a social support system – a "home away from home" – offering a place for them to go to decompress.

“This program is important to strengthening the relationships between our young military men and women and the local community,” said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, 75th Air Base Wing command chief. “We cannot do what we do without the support of our neighbors and this is another way in which to build those partnerships and truly embed our Airmen into the gracious community throughout northern Utah.”

Walker said many of the Team Hill Airmen are away from home for the first time in their lives, and the Home Base program will help to fill a void left by leaving family and loved ones.

“Not only does it allow our Airmen a break from their day-to-day lives, but it gives them an additional support structure that enhances their resiliency and connectedness across the community,” Walker said.

Families will commit to having regular activities with their Airman, especially during holidays and other special occasions. Adults will serve as mentors, friends, role models and advisors, reinforcing positive social values.

Home Base is patterned after similar sponsorship programs being run at bases around the country.  Michelle Bretzing Jacobi, founder of Stand Up USA, said Hill will be the first base to implement Home Base, and nine other bases have expressed an interest in the program, including Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and Offutt AFB, Nebraska.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to positively impact the lives of these young Airmen, who have committed themselves to serve in defense of our country,” Jacobi said.

Stand Up USA is currently looking for families willing to serve as role-models and mentors for the Home Base Program, as well as volunteers to support the overall administration of the program.  For more information, visit www.standupusa.org.   

“I truly look forward to seeing this partnership blossom in the coming years,” Walker said.