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Renovated Family Assistance Center to benefit thousands in Florida Air National Guard

6:30 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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STARKE, Fla. -- There is a breath of fresh air at Camp Blanding.

A completely renovated Family Assistance Center that was years in the making has opened up at the National Guard training base.

The center is designed to be a place for families to go as they prepare for their loved one to deploy.

"We come here for the family activities," Takara Caton said.

Takara's husband, Richard, has served 12 years in the Army including two deployments to Bosnia and Afghanistan.

"It's really important," Takara said. "It helps us keep connected,  and stay connected."

Everything in the once private home is new. 

The renovation was made possible by a $40,000 donation from Taco Bell via the Armed Forces Family Foundation.

The center started about 10 years ago, after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. The center will benefit the more than 13,000 members of the Florida Air National Guard.

"Our service members come here to prepare for deployment and do all of their paperwork," Lori Culnerson, a Family Assistance Contractor explained. "While they're doing that, we hold barbecues."

The center also provides private counseling and referrals for military insurance, emergency finances and crisis'. 

Sergeant Michael Sheridan has served a tour in Iraq for almost one year. He recently welcomed his first child. 

"[The center is] pretty important. It keeps them in touch with everything that's going on with us and that's a really important time, because there are times when we can't let them know what we're doing," Sheridan said.

If you are interested in learning more about the services, contact Rob Megreros, with Family Readiness at 904-814-4487.

First Coast News

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