by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
8/13/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- For
some serving their country means long hours away from loved ones while
fixing aircraft, flying missions, cooking meals for Airmen or moving
It's often a worry for many service members with young family members
what to do with their children so they can concentrate on the job at
hand. Who do they trust to nurture and develop the next generation?
One local national direct hire staff member has devoted 30 years of her
life to care for American children, and their parents, while they are so
far from their own family in the states. The child development center
is here to provide a safe place for military children while their
parents are at work.
Maureen Morley, 100th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center
room leader from Beck Row, Suffolk, retired July 31, 2015 after many
years caring for others.
"She works with infants and we're overseas, so there are parents who
have no one here such as a normal support system of mums or grandparents
to help them," said Nicholas Batey, 100th FSS assistant director from
Brandon, Suffolk. "So people like Maureen, who have been here for so
long, help mentor the parents and well as the staff."
On July 29, 2015, Col. Thomas D. Torkelson, 100th Air Refueling Wing
commander, presented Morley with a pin and certificate to commemorate
her 30 years of service to a country not even her own, but one she has
grown to love.
"I didn't think I was going to last the first six months because it was
completely different back then," Morley explained. "Ratios back then
were 15 children to one caregiver. I came from being a social worker to
this sort of establishment and it was very different."
What began as an uncertain time turned into 30 years of service that she'll miss after her retirement.
"I came straight in as a room leader to teach other people and, to be
honest, I didn't know what I was doing myself," Morley laughed. "These
30 years have gone quickly. It's time for me to go, but I don't want
Base leadership recognizes the benefits of experience and knowledge of
local people, and what they give to their Airmen and families.
"Maureen has become the person you look to for advice," said Torkelson
as he presented the pin. "She is the continuity as military members come
and go. You are caring for our kids so our single parents, and other
parents who both work, are able to serve their nation knowing their
children are in good hands. There are also military dependents you have
cared for over the past thirty years who are now old enough to serve
There have been many changes in childcare during her time on base. Her
leadership is proud of the changes in the childcare system, a system
Morley has helped develop.
"Maureen is one of our best employees," added Batey. "She has been here
since before the Child Care Act came in. The Child Care Act was brought
in for the Air Force to improve childcare safety. There were not a huge
amount of regulations before the act. We were more like a
babysitting-type service. Now we can improve the children's education,
improve what they can do, to achieve while they are here, rather than
just us caring for them and making sure they are warm and clean."
The lasting affect this caregiver has had on the children in her care transcends the generations.
"Maureen has worked with many different age groups," said Batey. "We
have parents who she looked after when they were little who have
children of their own now, who still send her pictures. So she keeps in
touch with a lot of people as they enter adulthood across the world."