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104th Fighter Wing Learns what "DPH" stands for as they get to know their "DPH"

Barnes Air National Guard Base -- Michelle Pennington, the 104th Fighter Wing's new Director of Psychological Health, joined the wing this year to support Airmen and their families during all seasons of life.

"Everyone comes with different experiences, backgrounds and needs," said Pennington. "Listening is the first step to being able to help. When someone takes the time to listen, solutions can be focused and successful."

Pennington is inspired to work with Airmen and their families.

"Though I have not served myself, having loved ones dedicated to service has given me tremendous appreciation for their courage and sacrifice. I feel honored to have the opportunity to give back some support to Airmen and their families however they need."

When asked what she hopes to help with at the Wing she explained "I am available to help with members on an individual basis on a variety of things from finding resources to problem solving. If I cannot help directly I will find who can. I am also excited to work with the other helping services on Base - Airmen and Family Readiness, Chaplains, SARC, HRA to develop programs and events to improve the quality of life of our Airmen and families."

The overall goal of the National Guard Psychological Health Program is "Creating Strength through Resilience." Through this program, the Air Force demonstrates its commitment to the overall health of Airmen and their families, which promotes resiliency and ensures operational readiness.

When asked where she is from and how she became a social worker she shared "Growing up my parents encouraged and participated in volunteering.  My father was a Korean War Veteran in the Military Police. When he returned he began his career as an aerospace engineer and worked on many projects for the military. My mother stopped working when us kids came and began volunteering at a soup kitchen in Hartford, Connecticut and a local nursing home. Being the youngest of 3 kids I was brought along."

She credits her mother for her career. "Though I was not always psyched to get up early or leave friends to go, it started me on the path to becoming a social worker for which I am very grateful."

"I have two children of my own now and hope to instill in them what my parents taught me about showing gratitude and being grateful for life during both difficult and happy times."

Pennington shared "In answering these questions for PA, it yet again reminded me to count my blessings - especially in this month of November - the month of Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving.  Let us all take the time to share our gratitude for one another and to express our gratefulness for the strength we gain from times of struggle, the resiliency we show in adversity and the joy found in everyday life and our connectedness to others."

For More information on the Psychological Health program can be found by contacting Michelle Pennington at 413-568-9151 ext. 6981536

"I'm here at the unit in building 029 during the week or on drill weekend if you have any questions or want to chat about the Yankees, oh sorry, the Patriots or food," said Pennington.