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Hometown Heroes Program supports families of deployed Airmen

  • Published
  • By Theresa Morris
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs

    Imagine waking up to a bitterly cold house days after your spouse deploys halfway around the world and the governor declares a state of emergency due to record cold temperatures. The furnace quit working, you’re alone, and the children are cold.  What do you do?

    Luckily, leadership of the 127th Wing is all too familiar with the overwhelming stress taken on by military spouses in the wake of a deployment and they’re standing by to help!  To provide emergency support, the Wing has partnered with military, state, and local community organizations to establish a unique resource for spouses of deployed service members which is locally referred to as the Hometown Hero Hotline.

    The Wing introduced the new service during a recent deployment of over 100 Selfridge Airmen. During the recent cold weather spell, the hotline was put to the test for the first time. 

    Our furnace quit working and my wife called the Hometown Hero Hotline, said Staff Sgt. Geoff Martin, an Aircrew Flight Equipment Technician with the 127th Air Refueling Group who lives in Flint.

    The hotline network was launched into action, this time reaching out to the Flint Chamber of Commerce for support. A local Flint business stepped up to help, expeditiously sending a service technician to tackle the problem.  The service technician happened to also be an Army veteran. He repaired the furnace and heat was flowing again in the family’s home. Problem fixed!

    “I’m very grateful for all the support my family received while I am deployed overseas,” Martin said, “We didn’t know what we were going to do. The business owner, hearing I was deployed said, that was all the reason he needed to go above and beyond.  That is truly amazing!”

    Constantly looking for new and innovative ways to take care of families, operationalize expeditionary readiness, and enrich community partnerships, 127th Wing leadership developed what is believed to be the first National Guard emergency hotline manned 24 hours a day to support families of deployed Airmen.

    “The hotline is worth its weight in gold for our deployed Airmen who know their families are not alone,” said Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and 127th Wing Commander.

    One call to the “Hometown Hero Hotline” reaches Selfridge Air National Guard Base commanders who have built an extensive network of community partners who stand ready to help the families of the deployed Airmen.

    “I had no idea support like this existed,” said Stephanie Bante, when her family vehicle quit working shortly after her husband deployed. “The immediate reaction, ability to help, and the dedication to ensuring I was helped has left me humbled and grateful. I feel like I’m part of a family and not left on my own while my husband is gone.”

    Staff Sgt. Joshua Bante is deployed overseas with the 127th Wing Air Refueling Group and his wife, Stephanie, went out to her car and it wouldn’t start due to electrical problems. She was unable to provide transportation for her and her three children. One call to the Hometown Hero Hotline and the network immediately responded, organizing services from a local auto repair company to get the car serviced and back in working order.

    With support from the Selfridge Base Community Council, Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, Macomb County Executive office, and others throughout the community, service providers have signed up to be on standby to assist Guardsmen with any type of issues that may arise while they are away from home. 

    “This is another example of how well the base and community partnership works,” said Steve Remias, president of the Selfridge Base Community Council. “Supporting the deployed members and families of our Hometown Air Force is just a small way that we can thank those who sacrifice so much for our nation.”

    “The men and women who serve at Selfridge have the absolute best partners in the country”, Slocum said. “Our partnerships, relationships, teamwork, and family continue to prove that anything is possible. I stand in awe of our great team!”

    Family members of currently deployed 127th Wing members can obtain more information about the Selfridge, 127th Wing Hometown Heroes Hotline by contacting the 127th Wing Public Affairs office at (586) 239-5576.