By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Bill Larned, Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs
While Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines at the Joint Reception Coordination Center assisted families who have voluntarily departed Japan with administrative needs, organizations such as USO, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army have set up to provide a variety of critical quality-of-life services.
Hedy Margolis, center manager of the Rocky Mountain USO at
, said her crew of volunteers were well prepared to deliver food, beverages, diapers and pet food. The USO also helped set up 197 beds, a playroom for children, Internet access, and a lounge with televisions and DVDs. Denver International Airport
"I love supporting the military and their family members, because everyone is so grateful for the smallest things, whether it's a bottle of water or a can of pop," she said. "People don't expect things and they're delighted to receive what we give them."
Margolis said that a spirit of cooperation multiplies the benefits caregiving organizations can offer military families.
"We work in conjunction with the Salvation Army," she explained. "We sat down prior to the event and discussed what each of us has access to and what we're bringing. Eventually we get everything we need."
Salvation Army volunteers manned several tables alongside the USO, offering snacks, drinks, candy and other refreshments for arriving passengers.
"We work very closely with the military and their families," said Sherry Manson, a public information officer for the Salvation Army's Intermountain Division in
. "The Salvation Army has a long history working with the military, back to World War I." Denver
Manson said she finds it personally fulfilling to be a part of Operation Pacific Passage.
"I cannot even fathom what it must be like for military families to be uprooted, facing separation from their loved ones," she explained. "Whatever small part we can do to relieve some stress for them...just offering a kind word and a smile, that's our goal here."
at Joint Reception Coordination Center will remain open to assist military families with much needed support as more planes continue to arrive. Denver International Airport
For more information on the voluntary authorized departure for eligible DoD family members from designated areas in
, read NAVADMIN 093/11 at www.npc.navy.mil. Japan
All Sailors or family members who are in need of assistance should utilize the NFAAS support site at www.navyfamily.navy.mil to ensure the Navy can track and assess support requirements for all parties affected.
Navy Fleet and
has a 24-hour hotline available to provide family support information at 866-854-0638. Family Support Center