Make a Difference 52 weeks a year

Lisa Kluetz
Family Program Director, Service Member Support Division

Last week we observed National Volunteer Week, a week established to inspire and encourage people to get involved within their communities. We still have 51 weeks left to continue the spirit of National Volunteer Week.


Life transitions like military transfers and deployments, retirements, career moves, and relocations are often not only full of angst and worry, but excitement as well.

These changes bring new opportunities for growth in our lives. I was on my third permanent change of station (PCS) when my daughter was walking for the first time into her third school. Unfortunately, she was only in the third grade.

As we walked into school, she looked at me with just a hint of a tear in her eye and said, “Who will I eat lunch with?” I hastily buzzed us into the school and luckily we were greeted by a school volunteer who said, “Hi Shannah, I am here to show you around and introduce you to some of your classmates.”

I remember thinking back to my own childhood when we moved and fondly remembered the ladies from the Welcome Wagon stopping by our house to welcome us to our new community. They even brought their children with them so we would know someone from our neighborhood.

New families in the National Guard need not worry about being the new kid on the block, who will show them ropes, and who will introduce them to the movers and the shakers, our dedicated volunteers will gladly be your “lunch buddy” at their next event or family picnic. The welcoming spirit is alive and well in the hearts of our dedicated volunteers.

The volunteers of the Service Member Support Division are working hard to embrace a culture of social change — not only by encouraging others to volunteer, but dedicating many hours of their time, resources, and energy to promote resiliency and growth in our families. Our action-oriented volunteers support the Wisconsin National Guard by voicing the issues and concerns that impact military families throughout the deployment cycle by promoting teamwork between service members, families and unit leadership.

We also have volunteers working with employers to support military families when they deploy. Retired Service Members are honoring our veterans through funeral support and services. Each year, over 500 volunteers work behind the scene with the Family Program, Child and Youth Program, Military Funeral Honors, and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve initiatives (ESGR). If you are interested in volunteering, contact the Family Program Office at 1-800-292-9464 option 3.