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Strength Through Empathy: Empowering the Wolf Pack

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. James Cason
  • 8th Fighter Wing

Maybe you’ve seen her smiling face in the background at an event about different cultures, a forum about female perspectives in the military, or a discussion about how to build bridges over differences in our race, color, gender or beliefs. If you haven’t been to any of these kinds of events, you might want to start—not just because Ms. Deborah Prescott, 8th Fighter Wing community support coordinator (CSC), has been serving military members and their families for over 20 years, but because after every event Ms. Prescott devotes her energy to everyone walks away feeling like they’ve learned something.

“I believe change starts with actively practicing empathy to understand. It takes courage to admit you don’t have all the answers on what needs to change, or how to change it. Learning to actively listen with an empathy to understand is the first step to awareness of your biases as an individual and as an organization,” said Ms. Prescott

She started her adventure with the military in 1995, marrying then-A1C Michael Prescott. As Ms. Prescott learned more about the Air Force, specifically the human beings who dedicated their lives to serving their country, she felt compelled to apply her passion and ability for teaching towards helping them to overcome the hardships life in the military brings. Ms. Prescott, considers herself, “a lifelong learner who over the course of her career learned more than she could ever imagine from the people she’s met and it started with the curiosity and empathy to understand and learn.”

After several stops around the world, always working to educate Airmen and the Air Force, Ms. Prescott found her way to Kunsan Air Base in 2019 where’s she worked as an Airmen and Family Readiness Center supervisor, the Wing Violence Prevention Coordinator and her latest (and greatest) role as one of the Wolf Pack’s leading voices in Diversity and Inclusion as the base community support coordinator.

For Ms. Prescott, “Being a CSC is a dream job because it aligns with [her] passion to proactively teach resiliency tools to help service members and their families of all ages learn how to work through challenges and build or strengthen relationships.”

As a one-year tour, Kunsan is well known as a place where people struggle with the challenges of being away from friends and family. However, Ms. Prescott also believes the culture of the Wolf Pack offers a unique opportunity because of how connected Airmen at Kunsan are. She emphasized, “I’m committed to spreading Diversity and Inclusion along with Resiliency into personal lifestyles and professional day-to-day operations. I believe every individual should feel a sense of belonging at home and in the work place. Empathy to understand each other is what makes individuals unique, and ensures we all feel connected to each other.”

Diversity and Inclusion haven’t always been at the forefront of the Air Force’s mind, but for Ms. Prescott, who’s dedicated her life to helping people break down barriers, she’s thrived in providing Airmen opportunities to expand their cultural awareness and belief systems. She understands it’s not enough to simply hold events, rather we must vigorously build a culture where people can learn, discuss, and grow without the fear of judgement or fear of career implications. “Most of my jobs here at the Wolf Pack focus on providing proactive programs and services to assist commanders in identifying, assessing, and minimizing personal and family related challenges to maintaining unit cohesion and strengthening operational readiness. Working through obstacles and adapting to meet the needs of others are the keys to my success,” said Ms. Prescott.

She has helped and will continue to help de-stigmatize the conversations Airmen and their leaders must have if we want to continue building an Air Force that combines so many different people together to accomplish so many amazing things.

 For Ms. Prescott, “Wolf Pack culture is special. It includes a sense of belonging, beliefs, and values that provide our identity and set the standards for our behavior. Airmen at all levels should strive to understand the individual, organizational, and operational value of diversity and inclusion, and ensure mutual respect for all.”