New A&FRC director ready to support and lead
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Robyn Endo (right), new Airman and Family Readiness Center director, talks with Linda Ambard, Youth Center director, in the Employment and Relocation Resource Center in Building 1218 on Feb. 26. In her new role, Endo is responsible for the A&FRC, which offers a variety of services and programs for personnel and families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt)
Posted 2/27/2013 Updated 2/27/2013
by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
2/27/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- New Airman and Family Readiness Center director Robyn Endo is on board and ready to continue her work of providing support for servicemembers and their families.
Endo arrived from RAF Lakenheath, England, where she served as team lead and acting chief for the 48th Fighter Wing A&FRC. Prior to that, she served as a work life consultant at Yokota AB, Japan, and Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
Helping families is something near to Endo's heart and it all started when she was a student trainee at Hickam.
"I was going for my second master's degree and got a job with the Family Support Center there," she said. "At the time, I wasn't really invested in the job, because I thought I was going to be an English professor."
While on the job, Endo met a contractor who worked at the loan closet. She was a military spouse with two kids, one of which was a special needs child.
"She sat me down one day and said, 'You really have to care about this because it's important to me, it's important to my family, it's important to the military. If you don't care, you shouldn't do it.'"
Endo said that conversation really made her reevaluate what she was doing and who she was doing it for.
That same family invited her into their home for family dinners and made her a part of the military family, something she didn't have a lot of knowledge about at the time.
"Now," Endo said, "every time I meet a military spouse, I'm reminded of that wonderful person and how she provided me with that insight which led me into this field."
After staying at Hickam for around six years, Endo decided she would take the leap and take a job at Yokota.
"I didn't have a military affiliation," she said. "I decided I really wanted to know what it felt like to PCS (permanent change of station). I really wanted to have that experience of confusion and knowing what it feels like to be taken out of your comfort zone."
While at Yokota, Endo established herself as an expert for non-combatant evacuation operations and even deployed to South Korea for three months.
"I got to wear a uniform during exercises," she said. "I got to feel like I was a part of that military machine. It was so amazing to be a part of that."
Two years later, Endo went to Lakenheath and was able to further support military families.
"The most unique experience was being chosen to be the first 'boots on the ground' for the multinational support element at Papa, Hungary," she said. "I was tasked by my MAJCOM (major command) to create a family support system. We set up a loan closet, education center, postal center and other services for this small community of families there. I stayed there for about three or four months."
After gaining experience as an acting chief for the 48 FW, Endo decided to apply for the job at Hanscom.
"Throughout my years in family support, I've always heard about the Hanscom team," she said. "They blaze trails in the family support world. They're legendary."
Endo explained she knew that Hanscom's A&FRC was known for meeting the needs of the community. They've been part of the forums and in the focus groups that have developed family support and Airman and Family programs that exist today.
She also knew that many of the staff here had been on board for a while and were experts in their field. She wanted to be a part of a team that had passion for serving their customers.
Over the past couple of weeks, Endo has spent time getting acclimated to the area, learning the processes and procedures of the center and getting to better know her staff.
"It's humbling for me to lead such a great team."
She also is learning about the unique mission of the base and finding that although Hanscom is small, it serves an important role in the region and with the joint community.
And despite budget reductions within the Department of Defense, Endo is confident she and her staff will continue the important mission of providing for military members and their families.
"There are so many things changing in the Airman and Family world," she said. "There's new guidance and new operating systems coming down for our center. To say we're going to keep the status quo is not realistic. Fortunately, I have a team here that is able to respond to the changes going on in the world and in our military. I'm confident that as we move forward, we will meet these challenges."
For information about the many services and support Hanscom's Airman and Family Readiness Center provides, call 781-225-2765 or visit www.hanscomservices.com/AirmanAndFamilyReadinessCenter.asp.