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Holiday Cheer

The “Thoroughbred Carolers” continue a 123rd Airlift Wing tradition by performing seasonal songs for Guardsmen and their family members.

(Photo by Tech. Sgt. D. Clare, Kentucky Air National Guard)

The “Thoroughbred Carolers” continue a 123rd Airlift Wing tradition by performing seasonal songs for Guardsmen and their family members. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. D. Clare, Kentucky Air National Guard)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The gathering of 123rd Airlift Wing families for the Wing Holiday Party Dec. 7 marked the start of a new era in family support.

The event was the first opportunity for Dave Rooney, family program coordinator, to meet and greet the spouses and children of wing members.

Mr. Rooney, a retired master sergeant, is the wing's first full-time family support professional. His goal is to manage relationships and facilitate resources to ensure that families get the support they need -- especially when members deploy.

According to Col. Greg Nelson, 123rd Airlift Wing commander, Mr. Rooney's work with wing members is critical to the success of the Kentucky Air National Guard.

"Beyond it being the right thing to do, we know how important families are to our ability to achieve our mission," he said. "After all, if there is a problem at home, it's undoubtedly going to impact the mission."

Mr. Rooney is soliciting and working with key volunteers to ensure networks are in place to support deployed members. He's especially concerned about the children and teens of Airmen called to active duty.

"The more involvement we can get with Mr. Rooney's programs, the bigger and better the net of care and comfort we can provide our families," Colonel Nelson said.

"Families need to know that we are here to help. They shouldn't hesitate to call me or Mr. Rooney or anyone else in the chain of command. We have the resources in place. Sometimes the biggest challenge is getting people to take the first step and reach out for help."

Mr. Rooney can be reached at (502) 413-4647.