Faces Change, Service Remains the Same

for Utah National Guard Family Programs

 

Written by Maj. Hank McIntire

Published May 23, 2006

 

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Kelly Barnes, new State Special Projects  Coordinator for Utah National Guard Family Programs.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Kelly Barnes, new State Special Projects  Coordinator

for Utah National Guard Family Programs

DRAPER, Utah — Recently the Utah National Guard Family Programs team has undergone personnel changes and added some new faces.

When a top-level member of a team moves on, it can have a ripple effect on the staffing throughout the organization. Sundee Peterson, longtime Family Readiness Assistant, took a national-level position with National Guard Bureau Family Programs, and that opened the way for current members of the team to move up and for others to come on board.

Tonia Johnson is the new Family Readiness Assistant, taking over for Peterson. Johnson was previously the State Special Projects Coordinator.

Kelly Barnes is now the Special Projects Coordinator, having most recently served as Family Assistance Center Coordinator in Spanish Fork. Stacey Mundy will assume Barnes’ duties, and Laura Roberts will help staff the Family Assistance Center at Camp Williams.

“Despite these recent moves and changes, families and Soldiers will receive the same superior level of support they have always received,” said Maj. Patrick Osmond, director of Family Programs for the Utah National Guard.

In the past year Barnes has supported Soldiers and families of the 115th Engineers, 120th Quartermaster Detachment, 144th Area Support Medical Company, and the 2-222nd Field Artillery.

Having supervised a family assistance center, Barnes has pretty much seen and heard it all. People would come to him with their needs, and he helped them find solutions for things like flooded basements, broken-down cars and even personal problems. He estimates that he’s directly assisted over 400 people since he started with Family Programs a year ago.

“You have to get people to trust you and tell you their problems,” said Barnes. “The more I understand how Family Programs works, you have to have something special to work here. This job isn’t for everybody.”

Stacey Mundy, Family Assistance Center Coordinator, Spanish Fork.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Stacey Mundy, Family Assistance

Center Coordinator, Spanish Fork

Despite the daily challenges of helping to meet Soldiers’ and families’ needs, Barnes feels the rewards are definitely worth it.

“I’ve gotten E-mails from Soldiers whom I don’t even know, saying, ‘I want to shake your hand when I get home for all you’ve done,’” he said.

In his new post Barnes will work in Draper and oversee special Family Programs projects such as the state Family Programs Conference, Governor’s Day, the Utah National Guard Charitable Trust, humanitarian efforts and serve as a Guard Family Team-Building (GFTB) Volunteer.

In his year with the organization, Barnes knows that Family Programs fills a critical need and is here to stay.

“It is the family’s link to the military when their Soldier is gone. Just because the spouse is gone does not mean life doesn’t continue here,” Barnes said.

In taking over for Barnes in Spanish Fork, Stacey Mundy is new to the Family Programs team but is experienced in working in positions where she served and cared for families and the elderly in the medical field.

“I’m very excited, and I hope families will put their faith in me that I will be there for them,” Mundy said. “It’s important for Soldiers to know that there is a group of people looking out for their families."

Knowing that she has big shoes to fill by replacing Barnes, Mundy joked, “Well, I’ve got big feet!”

Also new to Family Programs as an employee, Laura Roberts has been a stay-at-home mom for several years. She has been very active, however, in the Family Readiness Group of her husband’s unit, the 115th Engineers, helping to plan and carry out Christmas parties, summer get-togethers and Halloween celebrations.

Roberts also worked closely with the Utah State University ROTC program when her husband was assigned there. While in Logan she was a GFTB specialist and organized luncheons and get-togethers for cadets’ wives.

Laura Roberts, Family Assistance Center, Camp Williams, will assist families of I Corps Artillery Soldiers.

Photo by Maj. Hank McIntire

Laura Roberts, Family Assistance Center, Camp Williams,

will assist families of I Corps Artillery Soldiers.

Roberts knows the impact that she can have on families as I Corps Soldiers deploy.

“Deployment is a whole new chapter in families’ lives, and I hope they feel that they can come to me and I can help them. Even if it’s just having someone to talk to,” she said. 

In addition to their experience in working with people in need, one of the intangibles that Barnes, Mundy and Roberts bring to their new assignments is that their spouses are all members of the Utah National Guard.

“Having a spouse in the military, it changes the way you view things because it could be you in that situation, said Barnes. “My wife is well respected in the military. I don’t want to let her down.”

Roberts agrees. “My husband has a love or our country that I haven’t seen in anyone. He helps me not take our country for granted. As a military wife, you know what the spouses are going through. You have insight that someone who isn’t in the military doesn’t have. If you’ve been there, you can help them with whatever they’re going through.”

“In my position, if it were my husband who was gone, I would be comforted in knowing that I had someone to go to for help with the things he used to do,” Mundy added.