AFRC helps communicate through video e-mail

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE, Kan. -- What to do? Your husband deployed more than three months ago and your two small children keep hounding you with questions. What is daddy doing? When is he coming home? The perfect solution to ease the on-going questions is a service provided by the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Operation Video E-mail is a video recorded message to your loved ones and is sent via e-mail.

"I think people are nervous about using it because they think that we are the ones who are recording them, but we don't," said Master Sgt. Susan Smith, 22nd Mission Support Squadron. "Anyone can use it. It's completely private and set up in a designated room."

The only thing required to use the service is the e-mail address of the recipient.

The software is very simple to use, recording is done alone and the software allows previews of the message, before it is sent.

There are no fees included with this service and Operation Video E-mail is available to anyone and everyone who has access to the base.

The only drawback with video e-mailing is the time limit. The software only allows one minute of video recording per message. Although this is not a great amount of time, there is no limit to the number of messages that can be sent.

"I've seen ladies bring in an entire list of things they need to discuss with their loved one so they won't forget what they have to say," Sergeant Smith said.

Video e-mail has been available to McConnell members and families for approximately a year. The feedback from those that have used the video e-mail has been nothing but positive according to Sergeant Smith.

A frequent user of this service is Meiling Familo, a McConnell family member. Her husband, Army Master Sgt. William Familo, 89th Reserve Component, has been deployed since June 2006.

"I like the response we get from him when he sees the children and me talk to him. It's very exciting for him, and the children look forward to it every week," said Mrs. Familo.

"It is great for kids, as they have less coping skills. It is very difficult for them to adjust to mom or dad being gone," said Sergeant Smith.

Video e-mail helps keep them connected in a way that a regular e-mail can not. It creates a visual image for them and makes it a more personal message to send.

"He can see us and he can be a part of everything even though he's so far away," Mrs. Familo said.

The AFRC has several other programs and services to help families of those that are deployed.

For more information, call 759-6020 or visit the AFRC in Bldg. 732.