By Liz Verley, Staff Writer
Family Assistance Centers (FAC) are local resource centers for service members and military family members. The FAC staff provides information and referrals to local resources as well as state and federal military support programs.
The centers are geographically dispersed throughout Minnesota to offer resources, referrals and support to all service members and military family members.
FAC staff are connected to their communities and military units in the surrounding area. They understand that asking for support is difficult for military families. They also know that challenges occur that require outside support.
Tami Klucas became the new FAC coordinator at the Camp Ripley site Aug. 1, 2012.
“I love working with our soldiers and their families,” she said. “I look forward each day to getting up and coming to work.”
FAC support staff are trained professionals that understand the challenges associated with the military lifestyle. When challenges occur, personnel need timely and accurate information, compassion and reliable support. No matter what challenges arise, the Family Assistance Center attempts to help the military family with solutions.
“FACs supply confidential assistance. We can provide information on the Military Family Care Initiative, connections for support within the community, referrals for financial counseling and applications for Minnesota Military Family Foundation grants and referrals for home maintenance,” said Klucas.
“We also can provide official information regarding a unit’s deployment, basic information on TRICARE health benefits, information on child and youth activities, resources for parents and much more,” she said.
Since taking the position with FAC, Klucas has worked with more than 200 cases. This does not include the frequent calls or walk-in questions that may arise.
“Responsibilities are shar-ed throughout the state. We are on call 24-7,” she said. “There is always someone available to answer questions and help. We rotate weekends with other FAC coordinators from throughout the state.
“I think the military, especially in Minnesota, places a high value on taking care of service members and their families,” Klucas said. “For our military to be as effective as possible, we must ensure the needs of our service members and families are taken care of.”
Klucas and her husband, Emmett, located to the Little Falls area a year ago. They have three children — Sam, 11; Faith, 6 and Silas, 3. Emmett is a full-time member of the Minnesota National Guard.
In her spare time, Klucas’ first priority is her family. One event the family takes enjoyment in is archery. Even Silas has a bow that he uses when they target shoot. When time allows, she also enjoys scrapbooking, reading and traveling.
Anyone who would like more information on the FAC should contact Klucas.
“I am always willing to talk to any organization or group to tell them what we stand for,” she said. “I am a pretty compassionate person, so I want to solve all the problems. I can’t solve everything, but I try to make things easier for those that need our services.”
Klucas can be reached at (320) 616-3117.