Air National Guard Unit in Westfield Awarded a Family Readiness Group Grant from Guard Support

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December 14, 2009
Guard Support has awarded a Family Readiness Group start-up grant to the 104th Fighter Wing Air National Guard unit in Westfield, Mass.

“The 104th Fighter Wing Family Readiness Group and the 104th Fighter Wing families express our sincere gratitude for this family readiness group grant from Guard Support. The grant funds will be used to help defray costs for our annual Children's Christmas Party for both deployed and non-deployed families. We are expecting over 225 children to attend, and the smiles on the children's faces will tell the whole story,” says Patricia Connors, Chairwoman, 104th Fighter Wing Family Readiness Group.

Family Readiness Groups assist commanders in maintaining readiness for service members, families and communities by promoting self-sufficiency, resilience and stability during both peace and wartime.

GSMA Family Readiness Group grants provide funding for family group meetings, programs, mailings, materials, family events, send-off ceremonies and homecoming celebrations.

About Guard Support of Massachusetts (

Guard Support of Massachusetts was founded in July of 2007 to help the families of the men and women serving in the Massachusetts National Guard.  Since September 11, 2001 the Massachusetts National Guard has deployed over 6,000 soldiers and airmen in support of the global war on terror. Guard Support was originally founded to provide emergency financial assistance to military families in which one spouse has deployed overseas.

To date, approximately 60% of Guard Support grants have been for direct emergency assistance to the families of the men and women of the Massachusetts National Guard.  Examples include rent payments, electric bills, car payments, gas and heating bills. The remainder of GSMA grants support Family Readiness Group meetings, programs and family events, including send-off ceremonies and homecoming events; as well as links between the men and women of the Guard and their families such as subsidized transportation for soldiers on leave, subsidized Internet links and Internet phone links for units in Iraq.

In early 2010 Guard Support plans to officially launch the Entrepreneurs’ Funding Program to provide entrepreneurship training, capital and support to both new and existing businesses founded by members of the Massachusetts National Guard. Providing support for entrepreneurship is especially important in the current economic environment of unemployment and underemployment. GSMA has partnered with the SBA Massachusetts Small Business Development Centers, SCORE and several organizations that provide support to entrepreneurs including The Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network, The EntreTech Forum and the Center for Women and Enterprise.

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Children's party at the base