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Welcome back to Wright-Patt

Kristine Freels

Kristine Freels

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - It’s so nice to see you. Somehow, I feel like we’ve just had a long, hot summer away from each other and it’s time to come back to school.

Except it’s time to come back to work. And the summer lasted 16 months. Empty hallways, offices, cubicles and parking spaces are full again.

As the calendar marks the midpoint of the year, you can feel the time passing. Already, we’ve made the turn and are counting down to 2021’s shortest day.

This is a season of new beginnings. Look around you. You’ll see new people you haven’t met before, yet they’ve been on the job for a year. They need you.

Others left us — whether it’s due to a permanent change of station, retirement or new job locally. They left without the formal goodbyes we are used to.

To those returning physically to the workforce: Welcome back. We need you. We need your wisdom and guidance, water-cooler dialogue and sense of fun.

What happens in a room when we are together does not happen in an email or Zoom chat.

We need you to guide us in our academic pursuits, help us take tests, and get promoted or upgraded in our training.

Your help moving us to our next assignment is invaluable. You help us lead better military lives through relocation, transition and financial-education programs. We need you to feed us, help us stay healthy, keep the installation safe, encourage us to exercise and plan fun events so we take downtime to relax.

We need to see your faces, not your “out of office” messages. We need your empathy; it’s what connects us.

We enable strength across the installation through our support functions. The front-line workers, health care providers, counselors, Security Forces “Defenders,” analysts, human resources professionals, /ID card makers, communication experts and accountants in customer-facing organizations exemplify service before self.

They show and showed true resiliency and how to overcome adversity as changes in routines (work to home and then home back to work, those who never left, those who had leapfrog shifts and those who were gone 100% of the time) became routine.

What these personnel showed is they know how to overcome; they showed us their resiliency and that we have come back stronger. As managers, supervisors and leaders recognize this, we are one step closer to re-energizing and rebuilding our teams.

Thank you for everything you do each and every day to bring us together across the installation.