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502nd ABW commander’s meeting addresses mold issues with residents

By Steve Elliott | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Aug. 14, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

“It is no secret that Joint Base San Antonio has mold problems,” said Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander, during a meeting with barracks, ship, and dorm residents Aug. 13 at the Academic Support Center on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

“This is my responsibility and I take it very seriously,” she said. “I’m your No. 1 fan and we’re glad to have you here with us today. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through these challenges.”

The meeting was the first of three being held throughout JBSA. Additional meetings were held Aug. 14 at Fleenor Auditorium, located in the Taj Mahal, Bldg. 100, on JBSA-Randolph, while the final meeting was scheduled Aug. 15 at the Pfingston Reception Center, 1800 Truemper St., Bldg. 6330, on JBSA-Lackland.

Joining Lenderman in the face-to-face meeting with residents were Maj. Gen. (Dr.) John J. DeGoes, commander of the 59th Medical Wing at JBSA-Lackland; Chief Master Sgt. Chris Lantagne, 502nd ABW Command Chief; Richard Trevino, 502nd ABW Civil Engineer Group director; Col. Sam Fiol, 502nd Force Support Group commander; and Capt. John Dial from the 502nd ABW Legal Office.

The meetings with residents are being videotaped and will be available for viewing online at https://www.jbsa.mil.

“Trust and transparency are my ultimate goal and I need to rebuild the trust and ensure we have transparency, so we can eradicate this issue,” the general said. “This is my promise and I expect you to hold me accountable.

“We have been facing these challenges for many years,” the general continued. “But this is a tremendous moment in time where we can actually get things done.”

Trevino mentioned that the biggest thing that can be done to control mold is to control humidity, as mold grows anywhere the two basic ingredients are present – food and water. “We are working to eliminate the excess water sources that allow mold to grow,” he said.

“You’re my most important customer,” Trevino told the almost 60 residents in attendance.

DeGoes, an internal medicine doctor, pointed out that mold grows virtually everywhere, both inside and outside.

“If you remove moisture, the mold can’t grow,” he said. “While mold is harmless to most people, it is an allergen, like mountain cedar, and can trigger a flare up in people with asthma. If you have symptoms you feel are possibly associated with mold, please see your provider. We can prescribe medications to help.”

Service members are entitled to file a claim to seek compensation for some items damaged by mold, Dial pointed out.

“We’ve conducted seven legal workshops across all three JBSA locations to guide residents through the claims process,” Dial said. “All base legal offices are standing by to assist with claims guidance and filing.”

The Air Force Claims Service Center at https://claims.jag.af.mil has step-by-step instructions on filing claims.

Several service members got up and talked about the problems they have had in their respective dwellings, detailing that mold was growing in closets, while others said they had purchased their own fans and dehumidifiers to try and alleviate the mold issues.

Lantagne said civil engineers are continuing to perform assessments on what kind of dehumidifiers can be used in different rooms.

“Our goal is to have a dehumidifier for every room,” the chief added.

“It’s extremely important to let your facility managers know what is going on,” Trevino emphasized. “Don’t live in bad conditions. Alert your dorm or facility managers. They report to me.”

“Don’t take no for an answer when it comes to air conditioning problems,” Lenderman said. “I want to provide you with quality dorms and I will be your advocate.”

Questions and concerns can be sent to the 502nd ABW commander via an email to RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil using the subject line “Feedback Fridays.”

For the most current information on the mold remediation progress, visit https://www.jbsa.mil/Information/JBSA_Mold_Remediation/.