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NEWS | Aug. 17, 2010

Spotlight on sponsorship: Lending a helping hand

By Elsa Summers Community Readiness Consultant

When Staff Sgt. Jason Mark exited the highway in his 26-foot moving truck after dropping off his wife and 10-month-old baby at his in-laws house, he did not expect to see them for a couple of weeks. He had just driven down from Watertown, N.Y., where the family had lived the last four years while he worked as an Air Force recruiter. Now, with less than four weeks' notice, he was reporting for work at the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base Charleston.

"With a 10-month-old around you can't do much. We thought it would be easier to get things done if I came first," Sergeant Mark said.

Moving is part of a military lifestyle. On average, a military family moves every 2.9 years. A good sponsor can make the difference between a smooth move and a nightmare move. Not only does that impact the military family, but it also impacts the mission.

"My sponsor got in touch with me very quickly [after I received my assignment to Charleston.] He verified arrival dates, asked if I was married, if I had kids, even asked their names," said Staff Sgt. Mark of his sponsor Tech. Sgt. Jose Guzman from the 437 AMXS. "When I arrived, he met me at the interstate exit and guided me to the base and to the housing office."

But Sergeant Guzman went even further and recruited co-workers to help unload household goods from the moving truck.

"We probably had the truck unloaded in two hours. It would have taken me a good two days. Because of the extra help I was able to pick up my wife and child a week early and bring them down here," Sergeant Mark said.

Sergeant Guzman, who had never had a sponsor or been a sponsor, spent the next two days helping Sergeant Mark in-process.

"I was just trying to be helpful," Sergeant Guzman said. "Try to be considerate, ask what they need and try to help with whatever is needed."

Sergeants Mark and Guzman exchanged information "very quickly" and agreed that two-way communication is very important. Each step of the way, Sergeant Guzman stayed in close contact, assuring Sergeant Mark was on track to becoming part of Team Charleston.

For more information and tips on being a good sponsor attend a Sponsor Training Class held the first Wednesday of every month from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Airman and Family Readiness Center or go online at for online sponsor training.