MINOT AIR FORCE BASE Leaders at Minot Air Force Base want airmen to be able to adequately deal with the unique stresses of the base's high-demand mission.
Minot AFB is home to the 5th Bomb Wing, with its B-52 bombers, and the 91st Missile Wing, with its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. It's the only base with dual nuclear-capable wings.
Cindy Whitesell, of Minot, is the base's full-time community support coordinator. In that position, she works with other agencies to enhance the quality of life for airmen and their families.
Whitesell, of Minot, the former chief of the base's Airman and Family Readiness Center, has been in this new position for less than a month. However, community support has been an additional duty during her 13 years as chief of the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Whitesell started working at the base in 1983 in Civilian Personnel, then moved to the Airman and Family Readiness Center in 1991, later becoming its chief.
As community support coordinator, Whitesell oversees the cross function of all the support agencies on the Minot base that contribute to quality of life.
Cross function, in this case, refers to agencies with different expertise working toward a common goal quality of life.
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The base agencies are Airman and Family Readiness, chaplains, mental health, family advocacy, equal opportunity and others.
"Basically, you're helping agencies," Whitesell said.
She also works with local community agencies.
"We're essentially looking at how can we develop programming and planning that's going to enhance all of the quality of life issues for our airmen and their families," Whitesell said.
Whitesell helps coordinate the installation's Wingman initiative.
"Wingman Day is where we stop and focus on building stronger airmen. It's more of a personal development type of initiative," she said. She said a guest motivational speaker might be brought in to speak to airmen.
"We're looking at providing activities that are going to promote healthy behaviors take care of yourself and your fellow wingman," she said.
As an example, she said, if there would be a large number of drinking and driving violations, they might focus on areas to improve how airmen assist one another in avoiding awkward situations that might lead to a risky behavior.
"We might focus on how do you talk to your peers when you're out and about and how do you make sure you have a designated driver, how do you make sure you are caring for your fellow airmen? It's like a buddy system, and promoting a positive culture," she said.
She said the Air Force has four pillars of comprehensive airmen fitness. She coordinates efforts that enhance those pillars the mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness pillars.
"The quality of life agencies will focus their activities on developing those pillars among our airmen," she said.
She said the Air Force wants to place more emphasis "on developing the whole area so it's not just developing your work-skills sets or developing your fitness. They're looking at developing the four pillars of fitness in each airman."
Whitesell will be doing extensive outreach and partnerships with community agencies as well.
"When I was with Airman and Family (Readiness Center), that was one of my biggest mantras was always developing those community partnerships and collaborations. That's something I will continue to emphasize and build in this position," she said.
For example, she said, several community agencies currently are collaborating and partnering to plan a North Central Veterans Standdown to honor veterans. The event is scheduled for Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Minot Armed Forces Reserve Center.
"We try to roll the family members in to some of the things we do under the quality-of-life programming," Whitesell added. "The family members are part of our community, and if you have a happy home, you're going to have a happier time at work.