WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
Master Sgt. Angela Potchik is the new point of contact for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. Potchik is a long-time member of the 445th Airlift Wing and 445th Maintenance Group commander support staff superintendent.
She volunteered for the extended tour to lead the newly revised program and implemented new changes to the program.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is designed to help educate Airmen, families and friends on potential and immediate problems and provide resources.
Overall, the program prepares Airmen and families for deployment as well as reintegration upon return.
The events typically occur every month. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Potchik modifed the curriculum to provide a virtual course for outgoing Airmen.
“This vital program promotes the well-being of the Reservist and their loved ones by connecting them with the vital resources they will need before and after their deployments. Most deployments are stressful enough and Airmen shouldn’t have to stress over how to handle financial, legal or interpersonal matters while preparing to deploy,” said Potchik.
The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program began in 2008, following a Congressional mandate by the Department of Defense to assist Reserve and National Guard members in maintaining resiliency as they transition between their military and civilian roles. Each member is eligible for one pre-deployment and two post deployment events. Members are eligible 120 days prior and must have a deployment date.
Airmen and their guests are put on orders to attend the event. Flights are booked centrally at no cost to the guest. Meals are reimbursed up to the allotted amount depending on location. The hotel cost is reimbursed for the event dates through voucher submittal.
Potchik said pre-COVID members had one year to complete post one and two. However it has been extended to two years from last March 2020 to June 2021.
During the COVID pandemic, all in-person events were cancelled. In-person events are set to begin in July. The event spans over three days over a weekend, starting on Friday night and ending on a Sunday afternoon. Members will attend lectures, breakout sessions and other informational events throughout the weekend, but they also have time to explore the city as well.
“There are three reasons why you should attend a Yellow Ribbon Event as a Reserve family. One, you may not feel like you are part of the military, attending an event will help the family receive step-by-step information about the deployment cycle. Attending an event is about reducing the stress in and out of each phase of the deployment.
“Two, Yellow Ribbon events are great places to meet other military families. You will be able to meet other families that you may have something in common with. It is also important to connect with others who share the same experiences.
“Three, Yellow Ribbon events provide numerous resources from federal, state and local levels. They all are there to support your family every step of the way before and after the deployment,” Potchik said.
In closing, Potchik has expressed excitement about her new role and looks forward to serving the 445th deployers and their loved ones.
“If you are a pre-deployer or a post-deployer and you are not on my distro email list that I send out monthly or you have eligibility, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-257-0381 and I would be more than happy to add you.”