The key to unlocking a sense of community

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trenten Walters
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

The Key Spouse Program embraces the Air Force’s wingman concept at military bases across the world.

The program supports the idea of the Air Force family and creates a culture of supporting units, communicating knowledge of base resources and encouraging families to get involved to bolster the sense of community.

Nominated by the commander and first sergeant, all key spouses are volunteers and receive training in preparation to support their units. The training consists of briefings on operational security, personally identifiable information, suicide prevention and sexual assault prevention responses.

They also are given the opportunity to attend programs, like Heart Link, to stay informed of base activities. Heart Link, also known as Spouse 101, increases awareness of the base mission, customs and community resources.

“The whole key spouse mission was initially based on deployments,” said Rhonda Ferrell, 81st Force Support Squadron key spouse coordinator. “When a service member deploys, they are going to better accomplish their mission if they know their family is being taken care of. We need them to stay safe and focused on the mission at hand.”

The program surpassed its original intent and now serves to build relationships year-round. Base newcomers can find out more information on the Key Spouse Program through the Military and Family Readiness Center.

“Walk into the Military and Family Readiness Center and ask what they have going on,” said Ferrell. “They can tell you who your key spouse is and whatever fun stuff is going on around the base and where to go for anything you need.”