Malmstrom family spotlight

From left, Jax, Ziggy, Blaise, Amanda and Master Sgt. Anthony Richards, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of operations, pose for a photo May 23, 2018, near Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

From left, Jax, Ziggy, Blaise, Amanda and Master Sgt. Anthony Richards, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of operations, pose for a photo May 23, 2018, near Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. While stationed in Montana, the Richards take advantage of Montana by camping and traveling. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Truesdell)

Ziggy Richards poses for a photo to display his insulin pump May 23, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Ziggy Richards poses for a photo to display his insulin pump May 23, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. An electronic device is kept on him at all times to deliver life-saving insulin. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Truesdell)

Ziggy Richards poses for a photo to display his Continuous Glucose Monitor May 23, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.

Ziggy Richards poses for a photo to display his Continuous Glucose Monitor May 23, 2018, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. Ziggy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on his eighth birthday in 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Truesdell)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Family support is key for Airmen resiliency. Malmstrom family spotlight is a feature published about unique and diverse family members of U.S. Air Force active-duty members assigned here.

This spotlight features the Richards family: Master Sgt. Anthony Richards, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of operations, his wife Amanda, a psychic medium who runs a business from home, and their children Jax, Ziggy and Blaise.

The Richards, originally from Maine, have been stationed at Malmstrom for more than six years and enjoy taking advantage of Montana’s landscape by camping and traveling throughout the state.

What is the best thing about being part of a military family?
“As a military family you learn to accept change in everyday life,” said Amanda. “Allowing for change has helped us move through difficult situations and become more grateful in our day-to-day life.”

According to the children, being in a military family ensures they’re safe wherever they go.

“The military breeds and instills acceptance of change,” said Anthony. “Though hard at times, it’s just something we have to adapt to and overcome.

“If I weren’t in the military, we wouldn’t have the healthcare, support or more specifically, the ability to see a specialist for our son every month,” he continued.

What is your favorite thing to do in Great Falls or Montana?

Around a monthly basis, the Richards take a trip to Billings to visit a pediatric endocrinologist, or a children’s diabetic doctor, for Ziggy.

In addition to their frequent Billings trips, The Richards take advantage of swimming, camping and different scenery throughout the region.

“We’re really summer people here,” said Amanda. “It’s gorgeous anywhere you go. (The kids) are never inside. They’re outside no matter the weather.”

Tell the community a special story about yourself, about your achievements or what you love to do.

On his eighth birthday, Ziggy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a lesser-known form of diabetes where little to no insulin is produced in the body.

“He had two quiet symptoms that brought us to the doctor and all it took to confirm this disease was a urine test,” said Amanda. “A simple urine test saved his life. The warning signs can be so quiet, and when left undiagnosed, could lead to sudden death.”

“We were completely clueless about diabetes,” Anthony added. “My grandparents had it throughout my childhood, so when I found out he had diabetes, I was terrified. I wondered how it was possible because we live a healthy lifestyle. He’s a young, active and healthy kid. We later learned there were different types of the disease.”

For Jax and Blaise, the diagnosis changed their lives as much as their parents’, as they support Ziggy, check on him to ensure he takes insulin and that his pump is on.

The Richards’ goal is to encourage others, promote positivity and awareness for Type 1 diabetes, as well as commend other families going through the same challenges.

“Instead of having a negative outlook or thinking of these challenges as a drawback, we want to showcase this as something teaching us more about life than we would’ve been able to without it,” said Anthony.

“There are those on base with children with diabetes and people don’t know the challenges they face. A lot of people see it as a burden, it’s not,” he continued. “It’s a part of life, like breathing. That’s how we look at it in general.”

What are you personally looking forward to?
The family is looking forward to Anthony retiring, as it gives the children more time to spend with their father, travel around the states and possibly walk the Appalachian Trail.

“The trail’s terminus is in Maine. My interest in the trail began when I visited it as a kid,” said Anthony. “Now it’s grown into an interest for our entire family. The challenge of bringing Ziggy has intrigued us even more.”

“We’d like to get the American Diabetes Association involved to raise awareness and possibly fund the venture,” he continued.

(Malmstrom family spotlight can be found regularly on the base website at http://malmstrom.af.mil. If you are a family member [parent; spouse; partner; child in middle school, high school or college; companion animal or other] and wish to be featured, or if you wish to nominate someone with their permission, please call 341st MW Public Affairs at 731-4050.)
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