142nd Wing Celebrates “Family Day” at Portland Air National Guard Base

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alexander Frank
  • 142nd Wing / Public Affairs

Airmen and families from the 142nd Wing gathered to celebrate Family Day at Portland Air National Guard Base (PANGB), on September 11th, 2022. The event marked the first time Airmen and families have gathered since 2019 due to COVID-19-related restrictions.

During the celebration, service members and their families enjoyed live music, carnival games, food carts, and various other activities. It was all part of an effort to bring the larger 142nd community together and refocus on the essential role that family has on mission success.

Col. Todd Hofford, 142nd Wing Commander, stresses that the event isn’t just an opportunity to have fun, but an important component of overall readiness.

“Family Day is in line with the Wing’s number one priority which is to ‘Trust and Care for One Another’,” said Hofford. “Our military families deserve recognition and praise from the highest levels and Family Day is one way in which we can give back to those who care for us most.”

Heather Gauthier-Bell, 142nd Wing Director of Psychological Health, and one of the organizers of the event, wanted to use the celebration as an opportunity to showcase resources available not just to Airmen, but to spouses who don’t frequently visit the base.

“So often spouses, especially during COVID, didn't come out to the base,” said Gauthier-Bell. “For them to be able to come out and see the resources that are available to them and meet those service providers and get information is really crucial.”

Some of the services available at the event included representatives from the American Red Cross, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and the 142nd Wing’s own Resiliency Team. Service members could gather information about mental health resources, deployment support, or even just grab some back-to-school supplies for military youth. It’s part of a broader focus on putting family first.

“This is kind of an opportunity for us to put our money where our mouth is,” said Gauthier-Bell. “For people to come together to see each other again and regain that sense of community.”

Whether it was the sound of children gleefully rocketing down an inflatable slide, or the nervous screams of parents during a live reptile show, it was clear through the jubilant atmosphere that the celebration was a rousing success. While the events of the last few years might have kept military community members apart, it’s clearly a bond that is easily reforged and essential to overall mission readiness.

“My hope is for no spouse or child to be a stranger to this Wing,” said Hofford “There is no greater priority in this world than our families.”