The staff of the new 18,000-square-foot Military and Family Support Center prepares the reception area for the ribbon cutting ceremony today. The facility is fully furnished and equipped to provide support to service members and families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kim Wright/Released)
A fully-equipped kitchen is one of the many benefits to the new Military and Family Support Center. The new kitchen will help the MFSC staff support service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kim Wright/Released)
The new Military and Family Support Center facade shines in the sunlight. The MFSC welcomes service members and families to the ribbon cutting ceremony held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. today at 3435 Broidy Road. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kim Wright/Released)
by Pascual Flores
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs
12/6/2012 - Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. -- Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst recently completed construction on the Military and Family Support Center, a $7.6 million facility built to help provide service members and their families with targeted support and services, contributing to mission readiness, resiliency and well-being of the JB MDL community.
The new facility merges the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Navy Fleet and Family Support Center and Army Community Service into one to support all service members and families, regardless of military affiliation.
"Our primary focus is supporting our service members and their families," said Bettie Kuzmick, MFSC chief. "We follow the best practices from every service branch."
The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy) signed a Memorandum of Agreement into affect a changing 'Warfighter and Family Services' programs and centers for all military service components to 'Military and Family Support Center' March 17, 2011.
The 18,000-square-foot facility is the only one of its kind throughout the Department of Defense and will create a one-stop military and family support service center that provides counselors and professionals from all branches of the military in the areas of: transition assistance, relocation services, volunteer information, financial skills development, casualty assistance, wounded warrior support, family life education, emergency financial assistance, school liaison support, exceptional family member program and personal and family readiness.
"The facility will also provide child and youth programs central enrollment registration, a nutritionist, family child care coordinator and youth program instructional program coordinator," said Kuzmick.
The new MFSC building replaces the Army Community Center and Central Registration buildings on Dix -- which started out as horse stables to support the cavalry -- and the McGuire building that was once a cafeteria, museum and the base welcome center before transitioning to the WFRC.
Prior to any organized program, assistance to service members and their families were conducted by volunteers who provided help to those in need.
"First there were volunteers who helped the families in need and then it grew to assistance from community organizations, to military spouses, to the professional services currently employed," said Kuzmick.
Food processing is another change in the new building. Originally, military bases had food pantries for families in need. This practice has been replaced with a food voucher system for pantry goods.
"We want to be respectful to the choice of our customers," Kuzmick added.
Even with the merger of the separate facilities into the MFSC, the missions have not changed.
"We are bringing over the best programs from both centers," said Amada Espinoza, community readiness consultant. "To us, it is people first."
Espinoza coordinated the International Spouses Group for almost 20 years, and is actively engaged in Citizenship and Immigrations Services.
"Today more people are aware of our immigrations services, which is great, because when they use these services they can save money," said Espinoza. "And in the past months, we have had more people join our International Spouses Group."
Other facilities available to service members and their families include the Soldiers and Family Assistance Center on Dix that provides a one-stop resource shop for services that partner with the Warrior Transition Unit and Navy Fleet and Family Services on Lakehurst.
"We don't say no, we are here to assist our service members and their families," said Espinoza.
The MFSC hours of operation are 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 754-3154 for more information about the MFSC and the services they provide.
The new MFSC will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. today at 3435 Broidy Road on McGuire. The joint base community is invited to attend the ceremony and tour the new facility.