Hancock Field Opens First ANG Joint Health and Wellness Center

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Duane Morgan
The first-of-its-kind Joint Deployment Health and Wellness Center (J-HAWC) opened here recently with great fanfare, including a visit by U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25).

Like other military installations, Hancock Field Air National Guard Base has no shortage of support services to assist its airmen and soldiers. But until recently, these services were spread out across the entire base, making it difficult for unit members to access services easily and efficiently. 

The goal of the J-HAWK is to take the already existing services on Hancock Field and create a "one-stop" facility that addresses the physical, psychological, spiritual, and family needs of airmen, soldiers, and their families. The center is co-located with the Deployment Processing Center and provides a consolidated area for deployment services while addressing the health and wellness of service members across all dimensions of wellness.

Some of the specific services offered at the Hancock Field J-HAWC include the Chaplain, Family Programs, Wing Director of Psychological Health, Nutrition, Fitness Monitors and Sexual Assault Response Coordinators. The J-HAWC is the first stand-alone facility in the Air National Guard to house all of these support services under one roof. This move will make the delivery of services much more seamless for the airmen and soldiers stationed here.

The J-HAWC is being opened in a phased approach, with the first phase recently completed with the move into the base's former Mobility Processing Center.

The second phase includes introduction of specific services and classes available to all military members stationed at Hancock Field, including members of the 174th Fighter Wing, 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 152nd Air Operations Group and 274th Air Support Operations Squadron. These services and classes will focus on the strengthening of the four pillars of wellness (physical, psychological, spiritual and social), and began recently with free financial fitness classes offered by a local financial expert. Other classes to be offered will include yoga, tai chi, meditation, stress reduction, legal, bible study, substance abuse prevention and nutrition.

The third and final phase will be to open these services and classes to military dependents.

Lt. Col. MaryJo Timpano, the 174th Fighter Wing's Director of Staff and person responsible for spear heading creation of the J-HAWC, is excited about the possibilities offered by the new facility. "My hope is that the J-HAWC 'de-stigmatizes' people's perception about seeking help. It will be a positive experience. It's confidential and it allows airmen and soldiers to approach things in a positive way. It's about wellness not illness."