NORMAN, Okla. - An Arkansas Air National Guard family from the 188th Wing in Fort Smith, Arkansas, set the national standard for volunteerism and was recognized for their accomplishments Aug. 13 during the National Military Family Association volunteer conference here.
Retired Senior Master Sgt. Scott Barr, his wife Cindy, and the couple’s two children, Isaak and Andrew, were recognized for the achievement with the National Military Family Association 2014 Family of the Year award for the Air National Guard.
Gen. Frank Grass, National Guard chief, and Maj. Gen. William Wofford, Arkansas National Guard adjutant general, presented the award to the Barr family.
Scott Barr, a former member of the 188th Wing maintenance squadron’s munitions element, served 22 years in the wing before retiring in May 2014. Cindy has served with the 188th Airman and Family Readiness Office’s Key Volunteer program for more than two years.
“This is an amazing honor,” Cindy Burr said. “The 188th has been like a family to us and we just wanted to give back. Working with the other key volunteers has been a great experience. It’s unbelievable; it really is. I’m so proud that we are representing the 188th.”
The Barrs were named the 188th Wing Family of the Year and the Arkansas Air National Guard Family of the Year earlier this year. The Barrs beat out 91 other families for the national prize.
“We’re extremely proud of the family atmosphere we’re continuously improving at the 188th,” said Col. Mark Anderson, 188th Wing commander. “The Barrs have been instrumental in helping the wing build that positive environment for our families. We’re tremendously appreciative that their hard work was recognized. It was certainly deserving of this prestigious honor.”
Scott Barr has deployed to Balad, Iraq, and trekked on multiple excursions to Bagram and Kandahar in Afghanistan. He cited the key volunteer program as the primary fuel behind the 188th’s robust family readiness effort that benefits service members during deployments and annual temporary duty assignments.
“To be able to not worry as much about your family back home when you’re out doing your job is a huge deal,” he said. “That’s what the key volunteers do for the Guardsmen. The key volunteers take care of the families during deployments. You can focus on whatever you’re supposed to do in theater and know that your home situation is sound. That’s a comforting feeling.”
For Cindy Burr, it’s the service-before-self mindset that inspires her.
“It means a lot for me to be able to serve,” she said. “Scott serves in everything he does. He is the epitome of service. Just being able to keep up with him is a big thing, being able to continue that legacy with the 188th.”
Though Scott Barr retired from the 188th in May, Cindy Burr said she doesn’t anticipate her role as a key volunteer ending any time soon.
“He thinks it’s hysterical that I have to come to Guard drill and he gets to stay home,” she said. “Once a key volunteer, always a key volunteer, I’ve been told.”