By FRANK COPE
19th Airlift Wing, Sexual Assault Response Office
Being the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at Little Rock Air Force Base for the last eight-and-a-half years has been the most satisfying of all my jobs. Today at 3 p.m., I will complete a working career spanning 50 years with my retirement ceremony and party at Hangar 1080.
After completing a tour in Vietnam in the Army, I came back to civilian life in 1970 to begin various careers in sales, home building, plumbing supervisor, owning a vending business, entering the ministry at age 31, re-entering college, and graduating and pastoring churches for the next 19 years. I have only been unemployed one time in my life for six weeks in 1970 after completing my career in the United States Army.
I moved my family to Arkansas in 1988 to pastor a church here in Jacksonville, where I stayed until 1998. After that, I became a civilian employee at the Family Support Center (Airman and Family Readiness Center now) at Little Rock AFB in 1991 and provided support to Airmen and their families concerning family life issues, financial management, Air Force Aid Society assistance, VITA volunteer doing taxes, relocation assistance, transitioning from military to civilian jobs, finding spouse jobs, working with volunteers, and deployment readiness until June 2005.
In 2005, I became the first Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Little Rock AFB. It has been one of the most demanding jobs in my whole life, but the most satisfying. We have provided support to more than 120 victims.
We have provided annual Sexual Assault Prevention training to the Team Little Rock population every year, and have trained more than 48,000 individuals. I have been privileged to work with the best people in the world, the Air Force community and family.
I believe in and have lived the Air Force Core Values. It is part of my moral compass. I believe in the professionalism of our Airmen. You deserve the best you can give to each other as you give your best to our nation. I love your families as I love my own.
I have been married to my high school sweetheart for almost 47 years. I am looking forward to traveling with her for the next year or so as we tour all the parts of the U.S we haven’t seen. We plan on returning to Arkansas and buying a home to settle down.
You may see me around the base or local area in a year or so, volunteering, helping with taxes or financial counseling or maybe on the golf course.
Thank you all for your service and your family’s dedication. Thank you Air Force for letting me be a part of the best Air Force in the world. Thank you Team Little Rock for a great time supporting and serving.