There's only one chance for a first impression Published May 8, 2008 By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms 45th SW commander PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- We only get one chance to make a first impression and we all know how lasting that initial vision can be. That's why, as we are only a few weeks away from the busiest Permanent Chage of Station time of the year, I want all leaders to emphasize the importance of an effective sponsorship program. I ask all sponsors to ensure all Airmen - regardless of their rank - know and feel that each and every one of them fills an integral, much-needed part of this wing. They'll get that knowledge and feeling only from personal, professional service. I want to ensure that we provide everyone with personal contacts, reliable information and an accurate, inside look at our community. At best, a PCS move is a challenge for all service members and their families. Many of you have experienced such moves and know how mentally, physically and emotionally taxing those first few weeks can be. Our focus will be on ensuring the Airmen coming into our 45th Space Wing family will receive the best reception possible. Think back; what would you or your family have liked to have been done differently ... or better? Then do just that for them. Remember, superior sponsorship service is understanding the needs of the newcomer. If you do have the opportunity to be a sponsor, try to begin well before the person or family you are sponsoring arrives. Do the little things; make and stay in contact, follow through, ask questions, be open, honest and positive, and, most importantly, listen to what they're saying and try to determine their special needs or interests. Because most people want - and greatly appreciate - much-needed help when they move to a new location, a good sponsorship program also serves as a mission enhancer. Because the mission will not change, our goal is to present a newcomer with a professional, first-class introduction to this wing and to our wonderful community. In helping our newcomers relax, settle in and get their personal issues settled, the quicker they can contribute to the mission. It's a win-win situation for all of us. Being a good sponsor is not a difficult task; it is nothing more than being a good friend. A good neighbor. A good Wingman. Not only that, it's the right thing to do. Go Sharks!