07/04/04 — Marilyn Roseborough new support center director

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Marilyn Roseborough new support center director

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on July 4, 2004 7:10 AM

A father comes through the doors of the Family Support Center desperately trying to find a way to contact his son who is deployed to Iraq. He has to look no farther.

After one visit to the center on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and a talk with its director, Marilyn Roseborough, he can now call or e-mail his son's squadron overseas to make sure he is all right.

"We have to be ready to embrace everyone," said Mrs. Roseborough.

Helping families of deployed airmen at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is just one of the center's many purposes. It assists military personnel financially, provides counseling, helps new airmen get adjusted to military life and is a place for spouses to talk about how things are going.

Mrs. Roseborough, a Fayetteville native, became the center's new director in May and has been at Seymour Johnson since 1991. She was previously stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, working for a similar outfit with the Army. Most of her time at Seymour Johnson has been spent working in the center, both as volunteer program manager and relocation manager.

She said being director was a little overwhelming at first because the decisions she makes affects the 13 other employees. She has to determine what is best for the center as a whole, especially when considering budgeting and staffing.

She is now more comfortable in the job and enjoys helping as many of the nearly 6,500 active-duty personnel on base as she can.

"I really believe that God has me in this job for a reason," she said. "I am going to go the extra mile to get what they need because it means something to them."

The center's employees emphasize community outreach, she said. They go out to the base units and assist commanders with things like providing American flags for families to wave during deployments and returns. They also have town meetings, and dinners for those whose spouses are deployed. They also make sure the airmen have their records updated and have designated powers of attorney before they are deployed.

The center also uses pillowcases to make the transition easier for the children and other loved ones left behind when the airmen leave. A picture of the person being deployed is ironed onto the pillowcase and given to them and vice versa. Last year the base made over 900 pillowcases with the help of volunteers and donations of pillowcases from local companies.

Mrs. Roseborough also knows the importance of helping spouses gain employment, because she grew up in a time when companies would not hire military spouses. The center works with Wayne Community College through the STAR program, or "Spouses Trained and Ready." The program trains people on computers to get them ready for jobs. She said employers today are glad they are sending them trained workers.

The center has a resource center with computers, a play area for children and a video conference room where families can speak to their loved ones while they are deployed. She said it will soon have a Discovery Center, which will have a fax machine, copy machine and computers that spouses can use to look for employment. It will be the only one in Air Combat Command to have an Employment Security Commission computer where they can work on resumes and have a direct connection to employers.

Another new program, called Air Force One Source, should be instituted by October. It will provide any military member who is planning to change bases with a packet of information about the area they are moving to, even if they are moving overseas.

She said there is a great relationship between the center and Wayne County. It often receives donations, like pillowcases, from local people and the military affairs committee hosts an annual family recognition day and provides gifts and other things to military families. The committee also helps lobby to keep the center's programs up and going, especially during recent budget and staff cuts.

"The community ties have to be strong," she said.

The base puts money into the economy and children in the schools, so it is important to have local support, she added.

Mrs. Roseborough and her husband, Danny, who is the deputy executive director for the Eastern Carolina Regional Housing, have two children, Danielle and Brandon. She remains excited about her position and looks forward to helping airmen in the future.

"I am here to serve, and that is what I'm supposed to do," she said.