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PCS Bazaar educates Airmen, families

Base agencies and local vendors participate in a Permanent Change of Station Bazaar inside the Dakota’s Club at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 19, 2018. The event brought several base agencies and local vendors together to educate Airmen and their families on the PCS process and various resources available to them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Randahl J. Jenson)

Ethin, four years old, receives a book during a Permanent Change of Station Bazaar inside the Dakotas Club at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 19, 2018. The event brought several base agencies and local vendors together to educate Airmen and their families on the PCS process and various resources available to them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Randahl J. Jenson)

From left to right: Tech. Sgt. Michael Byrd, the 28th Operations Squadron mission planning support supervisor, and his wife, Cynthia Byrd, a social media content moderation specialist in Rapid City, S.D., speak with Airman Kendall Poland, a 28th Comptroller Squadron financial management technician, during a Permanent Change of Station Bazaar inside the Dakotas Club at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 19, 2018. The event brought several base agencies and local vendors together to educate Airmen and their families on the PCS process and various resources available to them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Randahl J. Jenson)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Ellsworth Air Force Base hosted a Permanent Change of Station Bazaar inside the Dakota’s Club, April 19, 2018.

This event brought base agencies and local vendors together to educate Airmen and their families on the PCS process and resources available to them.

“This is the first of its kind,” said Maj. Heather McDaniel, 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “It is an informational bazaar for folks who are looking to PCS from Ellsworth in the next four to six months.”

The event was created through the Continuous Process Improvement program at Ellsworth and is one of the actions taken by a team of representatives from several base agencies including the 28th LRS, 28th Medical Group, Military Personnel Flight and Green Belt.

“We started working through this: how do we get people to PCS better?” McDaniel said. “This is a way to put information into the hands of the Airmen and their families so they can make the best decisions and be as prepared as possible.”

McDaniel will be PCSing for the fifth time this summer and recognizes the effort it takes to relocate.

“PCSing is stressful,” she said. “Whether you’re an individual Airman PCSing to a new location or you are a family that has put down roots in the community, it’s a stressful time. Especially when you don’t know what the expectations are, and you don’t know what you should be doing next.”

By bringing many of the agencies and vendors related to the PCS process, military families have an opportunity to have their questions answered and feel more at ease.

“I was super excited when I heard about the PCS Bazaar,” said Cynthia Byrd, a social media content moderation specialist in Rapid City, S.D. “I got a lot of new info, I feel much [more] prepared and my stress level has gone down a little bit.”

Cynthia and her husband Tech. Sgt. Michael Byrd, the 28th Operations Squadron mission planning support supervisor, are PCSing soon and the information they received is helping them make decisions regarding their move.

“Things are always changing,” Cynthia said. “It really helps when we’re able to talk to the source themselves regarding our needs.”

With the success of the first bazaar, McDaniel hopes to continue these events to help the most people possible.

“We’re going to align these bazaars to follow the assignment cycle,” she said. “There are three enlisted cycles where a wave of folks get an assignment. Our goal is when we know when a wave of people have received assignments, we’ll host one of these events so that they are able to attend while they’re thinking about PCSing.”

This program will continue to educate military families on the PCS process and provide resources to Airmen preparing to relocate.

“We had a great amount of folks coming in, both active duty members and families coming in get questions answered,” McDaniel said. I’m hoping that the next iteration will build on the success and that this will become commonplace where people can come to get legitimate policy answers that they can trust and take with them.”

For more information, call the Personal Property Section at (605) 385-6597.

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