• Published
  • By Lt. Col Brian Lewis
  • 62nd Airlift Wing chief of safety
One of the joys of a permanent change of station during the summer is the ability to travel with your family and see the great sights our country has to offer. A family I know very well planned their recent move to JBLM to include visits to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, and then the national parks along the west coast. They even bought a travel trailer to camp in along the way - a great family bonding opportunity for a family of five with two big dogs!

Despite all their planning, they couldn't prevent someone from backing into one of their vehicles at a gas station early in the trip. As frustrating as it was, they ended up with only minor damage and no one was harmed.

Their trip continued pleasantly for a couple more days, until they learned the service member's father was critically ill. They found themselves standing on the Hoover Dam, 2,000 miles from anywhere they could call home, and needing to expedite their trip. Imagine the stress on this family: PCS, accident, and now an unexpected family crisis.

This is where the men and women of JBLM stepped up and made all the difference in the world. See, this was my family, and it was my Dad who was about to pass away unexpectedly. Thanks to this amazing JBLM team, my family was able to rapidly in-process, initiate emergency leave, kennel our dogs, store our travel trailer, and catch a flight to rural South Carolina just in time to be with my Dad before he passed away. Mercifully, he passed peacefully in his sleep a couple of days after. We later spread Dad's ashes near the place he loved to take my kids boating in the summer.

Were it not for your efforts and continued support, the stress on my family would have been unbearable, and we probably would not have been able to see Dad before he passed away. Thanks, team JBLM, you made a real difference to me and my family. I look forward to serving with you as the new 62nd Airlift Wing Chief of Safety.