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Posted 7/14/2014

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By Narissia Skinner
Family Readiness Coordinator

When you think of Family Readiness, I am sure you think it only pertains to deployed personnel and their families; however this is not the case. Family Readiness has expanded its services and support to all District personnel and their families. Recently, our Navigation Branch Chief, Brandan Scully, was on a developmental assignment with the Engineer Research & Development Center’s Coastal & Hydraulics Lab in Vicksburg, Miss. He was working with researchers in the Coastal Engineering Branch to develop methods to measure and understand how navigation projects affect the performance of vessels in transit from automatic identification system data that ships normally generate while underway.

While checking on him during the four months he was gone, I asked him what he missed about home the most. His reply was, “I miss the food and the scenery in Charleston, the dedicated Charleston District staff and, of course, my lovely wife, Jessica.” That was all that I needed to know to coordinate the District to gather food items specific to Charleston area. Brandan received the box and was very happy. We also sent a poster of springtime in Charleston for him to display in his new workspace that he could look at and be reminded of home. Shortly after Brandan returned home, he went on a work trip to California, during which time his house caught fire. His wife escaped unharmed, but they are currently displaced and the District lent a helping hand.

1.) What does Family Readiness mean to you?
Family readiness is about members of the Corps family being there for each other during stressful times.

2.) Can you give me specific examples of how Family Readiness has affected or supported you and your family?
I was recently away from home on a temporary assignment for a substantial period of time. I knew our fabulous Family Readiness Coordinator does a great job of putting together care packages for our deployed members, but I was surprised to receive a care package myself. I was also surprised that it had such a tremendous positive impact on my mood - knowing that co-workers were thinking about me while I was away. I wasn’t expecting either.

3.) Please tell me a little bit about the fire you and your family sustained.
We recently had a fire that partially damaged our home, and left us without power or water. I was in San Francisco, and my wife was home alone. Within an hour of the fire, many coworkers contacted me to see if we were ok, or if there was anything they could do to help. Some of my co-workers showed up at the house to help my wife get things under control through the day. They helped her move undamaged goods out of our kitchen, prior to the ceiling collapsing. This ultimately makes the recovery process easier, but Jess was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. She credits the Charleston District staff in particular for making it possible to get through that challenging experience.

4.) Can you offer any closing advice?
Pay it forward, and check your smoke detector batteries.

The interview with Brandan was enlightening and inspirational. You never know when Family Readiness will be there for you, but know it will be whenever you need it.

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