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January 26, 2012
By Ron Toland

KATTERBACH, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach's first of two Army Family Action Plan conferences wrapped up today on Bismarck Kaserne with a guest participant.

"This one was actually for last year," said Tom Weissenberger, who assisted in coordinating the conference. "The rule for the time of the event changed; we needed to do one in the first quarter of the fiscal year. We'll do this all over again in November."

The AFAP conference is generated on issues submitted by community members, with participants selecting seven top concerns that will be sent to the garrison commander, said AFAP coordinator Kimberly Meadows.

Three breakout groups -- medical and dental; transition; and quality of life -- met individually for three days, with each group naming their top issues.

However, "We have to wait until the garrison commander receives the outbrief first before we can release them," said Meadows, citing a scheduling priority that will delay the process about a week.

Overall, the AFAP program shows that the Army will continue to support Soldiers and families during these financially challenging times, said guest attendee, Margie Ferriter, wife of Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, commander of Installation Management Command.

"AFAP is wonderful because it lets our Soldiers and families give us issues that are important to them, (ones) that we might not have thought about," said Ferriter. "Soldiers and their families give a lot to their nation; it is very important that we help them to take care of themselves (and their children)."

Of all the issues and programs the Army has, Ferriter said one overall theme is key to her: "Treating each other with respect and making sure that people remember why they are working in the job they are in ... a Soldier or family needs their help."

Ferriter, who also spent time with community members, listening to their needs (both locally and from the big Army), stressed that she will share their concerns with members of the IMCOM staff.

She also noted that "Army leadership is working very hard on our financial challenges and finding ways to reduce duplication, while still keeping programs going."

Read the results of the issues from this AFAP conference in an upcoming edition of the Franconian News at: www.ansbach.army.mil