Keesler services keep deployed Air Force families connected

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Holly Mansfield
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

When an Airman leaves for a deployment their family back home will need ways to help take care of their needs but also keep in touch with the deployed Airman.

The Air Force provides many services ranging from the airman and family readiness center to Key Spouse Groups for families to keep morale high while their loved one is away, with many of these services available right here at Keesler.

“The A&FRC’s job is to equip the Airmen and their families with information to help them deal with the challenges of being in the Air Force and deploying,” said Master Sgt. Daniyel Blankenship, A&FRC readiness NCO in charge. “We have many services and programs offered to families like school notification letters for children, family nights, Military Family Life Consultants, Give Parents A Break night, hearts apart morale calls, car care voucher program, Families Overcoming Under Stress and many others.”

There is a program for every member of the family, including the little ones. The A&FRC offers unique ways to keep each deployed Airman close to their child while being thousands of miles away.

“With the pillow case program, parents can send us a photo of their deployed family member, we print the photo and put it on a pillow case so the child can sleep with it while their parent is gone,” said Blankenship. “We also have the United Through Reading program which allows the deploying family member record their child’s favorite book on a DVD so their child can see and listen to it while their parent is deployed.”

Each unit on base also has a Key Spouse Group who works closely with the A&FRC and unit leadership to help ensure families are taken care of at home so Airmen can accomplish the mission at their home base or in a deployed location.

“Deployment can be a stressful and emotional time for families,” said Crystal Yarbrough, 81st Logistics Readiness Squadron key spouse. “The Key Spouse Group acts as a continuous sounding board for spouses and families going through this process. We act as a link between families and their active duty members’ unit. We make sure families know they are not alone. We are also a useful resource connecting individuals and families with the many military programs available to assist them financially, physically, mentally or socially.”

Airmen and their families can get in touch with their Key Spouse by contacting their unit’s first sergeant or the airman and family readiness center.

For more information about services offered to deployed families, contact the A&FRC at (228) 376-8728 or click here to check out their website.