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Building Partnerships: Organization dedicated to producing healthy military communities

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner
  • Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command

The Resilience Operations Branch within Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command’s Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services (A1) at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, has a new partner in its ongoing effort to improve the readiness, resilience and well-being of all Reserve Citizen Airmen.

In order to better understand and mitigate the unique challenges faced by geographically dispersed service members (including new recruits), veterans and their families, many of whom live off the installation, Congress directed DoD to develop a long-term strategy for aligning efforts to improve Total Force fitness.

BHMC began in 2016 in Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oklahoma. It expanded into phase two in late 2021 by adding Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. 

Lynn Schultz was named the BHMC state coordinator for Georgia at the beginning of phase two, having previously served as the state coordinator for Florida. One of the first calls she made after assuming her new position was to AFRC’s Resilience Operations Branch.

“We put a special emphasis on service members in the Reserve and National Guard to address their unique needs,” Schultz said. “That’s why it’s critical for me to work closely with organizations like the Reserve’s Resilience Operations Branch.”

Working with AFRC and other military organizations throughout the state, Schultz is focusing her attention on identifying challenges currently being faced by service members and their families, and finding public and private partnerships that address those challenges.

“That’s our ultimate goal – to impact Total Force fitness by aligning with organizations in the community that can help us address areas we have identified as challenges,” she said, offering up suicide prevention as one of her current priorities.

“For the Air Force Reserve and other military organizations, suicide prevention is a big issue now,” she said. “That’s why I’m aligning with the Governor’s Challenge for Suicide Prevention and other organizations to try and figure out why we’re seeing an increase in the number of suicides – is it financial, is it relational, are there other factors? When you look in the community, there are organizations that can help. Every county has a Family Connections point of contact within the Georgia Department of Public Health that can help people build those good, positive relationships. There are also a number of faith-based organizations within the community that can help build up the family piece that seems to be one of the biggest challenges when you are looking at suicide prevention.”

Schultz said another of her priorities is to partner with AFRC on a spouse and family town hall. “That would be a fantastic opportunity to hear directly from the people who are being impacted,” she said. “That would help drive my strategies and let AFRC know what resources they may want to pull in.”

Schultz said that while BHMC is operating in only nine states right now, there are plans for the initiative to eventually go nationwide. She added that her job, and the job of other state coordinators, ultimately comes down to building bridges.

“The bottom line for me is improving the lives of military members and their families by building partnerships with national, state and local helping agencies who can help our geographically dispersed military families,” she said.

Lisa Matney, AFRC’s community support coordinator, said she is excited about the command’s partnership with BHMC.

“BHMC is aggressively searching for ways to support our military members and their families,” she said. “The ability of this organization to help find resources out in the local communities does two things. First, it supports members and families with optional resources. Second, it creates a bridge between installations and local communities. Working with Lynn Schultz and knowing what was accomplished in Florida, I feel confident that she will be able to assist AFRC with a resource framework that will be long lasting.”