Suicide Prevention & Awareness

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The well-being of Massachusetts service members and their families has always been a priority. But what happens when your closest service provider is half a state away? The Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee is there to ensure help is always available, regardless of your military branch, component, or location.

 

Maj. Gen. Gary W. Keefe, Assistant Adjutant General Massachusetts Air National Guard, opened the ceremony by recognizing all the hard work everyone in the committee has done, and continues to do.

 

“I first want to thank everyone (in the IFASC) for what you do. The passion you all have and continue to have, and demonstrate for our veterans is unmatched, across the country. I say this all the time, one thing that Massachusetts does better than anybody else is the way they treat their men and women in uniform,” said Keefe.

 

An ISFAC is a voluntary military-community cooperative or partnership organized to allow service providers to engage in networking and connect Service and Family members, Veterans, Wounded Warriors with local military and community resources.

 

Tanya Rioux, the Massachusetts National Guard State Family Program Director, along with other members of the ISFAC took their commitment to service members and their families to the next level during a Massachusetts ISFAC Kickoff Event, March 15, 2016.

 

“Our program has been in its current capacity for five years. But the concept of the ISFAC has been around for 20 years, Rioux said. “Before it was more regional, it was Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut that met together. But it was much more difficult at the time when war broke out to keep that up and running. So we ended up, going more towards a state focus, and we found that that is very successful.”

 

The March 15th event allowed the committee to come together to discuss opportunities to better their efficiency and highlight areas with potential growth.

 

“Today’s event was to bring together the stakeholders throughout the state of Massachusetts. Both the stakeholders from the military side of the house, as well as the stakeholders from the community and the government,” Rioux said. “Today our opportunity was to make these people aware that this is going to be happening, and give them a birdseye view of what steps will be going on and where they can be involved in the future.”

 

The assets are spread throughout the entire commonwealth. A person may call her at her Wellesley location, but be from the Devens area. She can then make contact with the Army community director from Devens who would reach out to local contacts and find resources that are feasible for the service member, or she can pass the service members information over and give them a more local point of contact for aid and services, Rioux continued.

 

“It’s been useful in many different ways,” Rioux said. “One for communication between all of us. Second is our no door closed concept, where it doesn’t matter who you are – our national guard may not be going out there looking for a reservist’s family, but if they come through our door, we’re going to support them the same way we support a guard family. The third aspect is exactly what we’re doing here today. Which is analyzing what is happening within our state and going back to the Governor. and Adjutant General, and saying this is what is what we see going on, and this is our recommendation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor
Charlie Baker

Governor of Massachusetts

Major General
Gary Keefe

The Adjutant General

Command Sergeant Major
Carlos Ramos Rivera

State Command Sergeant Major

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