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Members of the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Exceptional Family Member Program interact with a box turtle during an EFMP aquarium excursion event at the Youth Center on base.

Caring for loved ones who have medical conditions or special needs often comes with many questions and may require specialized services and care.

The Exceptional Family Member Program is available to help build a community of support by connecting families to military and community to resources as well as assistance services.

“The EFMP is a support function provided by the Airman and Family Readiness Center to enhance the quality of life for special needs family members,” said Jeff Craver, 4th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center flight chief.

“We provide services to more than 550 active duty families at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.”

Craver added the EFMP is all encompassing, serving Department of Defense military and civilian members, reservists, guardsmen, retirees and spouses of deployed members.

There are three components to the EFMP: identification and enrollment, family support and assignment coordination.

“Think of the EFMP as a three-legged stool,” said Craver. “The identification and enrollment process is the medical piece. During this process ,medical records are reviewed and the best way ahead is determined. Our family support center provides assistance through the family support coordinator. We help connect families with available services in the community and can provide respite care depending on the situation. Assignment coordination plays a part in determining the next assignment. This is determined by the types of services that are available across the globe.”

All three EFMP functions work toward a common goal of providing comprehensive and non-coordinated support to families.

“EFMP is a great program,” said Gabby Lynn, military spouse at Seymour Johnson AFB. “It has helped me connect to my community and has given me plenty of resources to help with my ongoing medical concerns.”

Along with connecting family members with care, the EFMP also organizes and hosts family events on base. On July 15 the team hosted an aquarium excursion at the Youth Center on base. The educational activity provided an opportunity for families to learn about reptiles and helped foster family resiliency.

“The purpose of organized family events is to provide easier access to activities that are hands on, educational and otherwise inaccessible,” said Craver. “These activities give family members an opportunity to learn more about available services, meet other families in similar situations and increase that network, strengthening the social fabric of that community.”

The next event will be steam robotics, giving families the opportunity to get hands on with 3D printers, music sampling and more. Dates and times of upcoming events will be shared on the 4th FSS Facebook page.

“Some of these families are dealing with some pretty stressful situations,” said Craver.

If we, as a service and community, can wrap our arms around them, bring them in and say ‘hey, we got you,’ we can make a difference and help connect them to resources and services.”

For more information about the EFMP, call 919-722-7337 or visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center, building 3801, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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