726th ACS commander and spouse renovate mothers’ room
By Airman 1st Class Nicholas Swift, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 18, 2019
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Often times, the achievement of military members are held in high regards, while the actions of their spouses are seen as the support of their greatness. Some stand out though, and find their own greatness in the support of their military partners, and the units they belong to.
Lt. Col. Richard Barber, 726th Air Control Squadron commander, and his wife, Kath Barber, provide an example of initiative by renovating the ACS mothers’ room, Sept. 20 2019.
The new additions were made possible due to the Barbers’ donations, and most of the work was done by Kath herself.
"We funded it completely,” Kath said. “I probably spent a little more than most would, but it doesn’t have to be expensive to be nice, it just needs a few touches to make it more personal.”
The changes include painting the walls, bringing in various sanitation items and a donated couch adding to the overall comfort of ACS mothers.
“We really didn’t want it to feel like a sterile Air Force room,” Kath said. “The less stressed a mother is the better she can express breast milk. I collectively pumped and breastfed for four and a half years, so I know how hard it is.”
The renovations fall in line with the recent update to Air Force Guidance Memorandum 2019-36-02, though Kath stated she wanted to do more for ACS moms.
"When I was pumping for my first kid, it was just a back office - it felt really awkward," said Staff Sgt. Tawnee Ash, 726th ACS quality assurance evaluator. "[The mothers’ room] is wonderful. It feels like home here and not like I’m pumping at work."
The Barbers wanted to support their working moms by providing a stress-free environment to pump and feel comfortable.
“It is Air Force regulation that every squadron has a mothers’ room, but there are no guidelines further than a comfortable chair, a hard surface and a lock on the door,” Kath said. “We decided to take it up a notch.”
People like the Barber family help improve the lives of base personnel by making changes themselves. Kath providing a renovated mothers’ room shows her compassion for ACS moms, and her drive to help them.