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Exceptional support for exceptional families

The EFMP on Eielson began in October 2017 and after over a year has assisted more than 200 families.

Carey Lutrell, chief of the Eielson Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center (AFRC), instructs a young girl on the use of a sewing machine during an event held by the Exceptional Family Member Program on Dec 19, 2018 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Throughout the event volunteers learned sewing skills while also creating scarves for charity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

The EFMP on Eielson began in October 2017 and after over a year has assisted more than 200 families.

Keira Biery, the Exceptional Family Member Program family support coordinator at Eielson Air Force Base, measures and cuts cloth for a scarf Dec. 19, 2018, at Eielson AFB, Alaska. Biery’s job as the EFMP coordinator enables her to help Eielson families by coordinating care and developing programs for members with special needs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

The EFMP on Eielson began in October 2017 and after over a year has assisted more than 200 families.

Scarfs sit in a pile Dec. 19, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The Exceptional Family Member Pro-gram held a sewing event with the goal of sewing and donating 50 scarves to the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

The EFMP on Eielson began in October 2017 and after over a year has assisted more than 200 families.

An Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) sign stands at the Airman and Family Readiness Cen-ter Dec. 19, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The EFMP on Eielson began in October 2017 and after over a year has assisted more than 200 families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Eric M. Fisher)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

For a family with a special-needs loved one, it is challenging to find the services they need after a Permanent Change of Station. To help relieve this strain, the Air Force implemented the Exceptional Family Member Program.

The EFMP is now at each base to help families find and coordinate the resources they need. 

Here on Eielson, the program has been running for over a year and works every day to improve hundreds of lives.

We have about 200 EFMP families here from the Air Force and any members assigned to Fort Wainwright or the Air National Guard who live on Eielson are also welcome to participate,” said Keira Biery, the EFMP family support coordinator.

I receive calls from individuals who will soon PCS here and from families who are leaving,” said Biery. “I also make contact with each of the families at least once a quarter to check on them.”

By continually engaging with the families, Biery can offer easier access to resources which otherwise would take an exhausting amount of effort to find.

“If there is a resource which isn’t available on base, I can put them in touch with off base groups to better fulfill their needs,” said Biery. “I can connect them with support groups or find out what programs the schools offers for special-needs children.”

This support is furthered through EFMP events held around the base which brings the families together and builds a community for them.

Even though events are designed to bring EFMP families together and build community, we always welcome any Eielson families to attend,” said Carey Lutrell, chief of the Airman and Family Readiness Center. 

This past holiday season, EFMP members and other volunteers came together to sew scarves for the North Pole community to help others through the cold Alaskan winter.

 “Today’s sewing event had three purposes,” said Lutrell. “Networking EFMP families with each other and to other Eielson Families, to teach people how to sew and to contribute to the North Pole community.”

For more information about EFMP events or to contact the EFMP coordinator call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 907-377-2178.