WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
The job of identifying, assessing and advocating for the needs of the big ‘A’ Airmen of the Air Force Materiel Command primarily falls to one group, the Community Action Team, or CAT.
The CAT is a senior-leader-driven working group designed to prioritize community issues involving resilience and generate plans to address the needs.
“When AFMC Airmen and their families find themselves confronted by challenges, the CAT is there to help. Collaboration is encouraged among helping agencies to so that all are working towards a consolidated solution to an issue,” said Danna Plewe, Program Manager, Air Force Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
The CAT is comprised of subject matter experts who support Airmen and civilians as they work through challenges that can impact mission and readiness. Many members are helping agency program managers with specialized training in various support fields, to include health and wellness, mental health, safety and more.
At AFMC, the CAT is chaired by the Community Support Program Manager, Jennifer Treat. Members include the Violence Prevention Program Manager, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Manager, Behavior Health Program Manager, Air Force Employee Assistance Program Manager, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program Manager, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Civilian Health Promotions Services (CHPS) Program Manager, Public Affairs, Judge Advocate, Safety, Chaplain, AFMC We Need Office, and First Sergeant.
The CAT team reports to senior leaders via the Community Action Board, or CAB, a quarterly meeting of senior leaders and advisors who come together to share the successes of total force programs and address current and potential areas of concern for Airmen and their families.
“The team works behind the scene to assess trends and make recommendations to the Community Action Board,” said Yvonne Viel, AFMC Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Manager.
If a worrisome trend or challenge arises in the AFMC population, the team looks to find solutions to respond to the issue.
“Recently, the CHPS program partnered with Mental Health and Air Force EAP to highlight strategies to avoid burnout,” said Katie Doyle, Air Force CHPS program manager. “We have also partnered with the CAT to support Wingman Days in the past and the current AFMC Connect and AFMC Connect Family tool to build on unit and family cohesion and connectedness.”
This working group is mirrored at each AFMC installation, led by the Community Support Coordinator. Additional members from the local installation who might be members include spouses and representatives from installation offices like the Exceptional Family Member Program and Airmen and Family Readiness.
At the local level, if an issue or concern extends beyond an installation’s capacity to address, the concern is forwarded to the command CAT team and then up to the Air Force level unit, should a situation occur. This might occur if an issue might require an Air Force policy review.
Whether it’s working with a local installation to develop a Community Resilience Program to assist the population with awareness of and connection to resources, standardizing responses for suicides and critical incidents, or improving the physical and mental health readiness of the workforce across the command, the CAT and CAB represent AFMC subject matter experts and leaders working together take care of what matters most—the total force Airmen and their families.
“This is the leaders’ forum to make sure they are doing the right things for their folks,” said Plewe.