MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF (May 20, 2017) --- The Airman and Family Readiness Center at March Air Reserve Base, California kicked off a new base-wide Key Spouse program during a meeting and training session with 17 Airmen's spouses at the 452nd MSG conference room May 20, 2017.
The spouses were in training to become Key Spouse volunteers, a program designed to help spouses and families of military members cope with the stresses and needs that may occur during a deployment. The volunteers are selected by the commander of an individual unit to be the key liaison and resource between the member's family, the member's unit, and the Airman and Family Readiness Center.
Karen Amos, director of the March Airman & Family Readiness Center and administrator of the renewed base-wide program, said many units on base already had key spouses and the revival of the consolidated program at March would allow for a more regular training as well as pooling of resources and best practices.
“After the eight-hour training, the key spouses could serve in any helping capacity for the member's families,” Amos said, “such as making morale calls to check in on members' families during deployment, assisting with getting child care, or directing them to other resources to help alleviate needs and other issues.”
According to Amos, the program is a helpful component in trying to maintain the balance of military life, and can sometimes be the difference preventing a crisis at home during deployment allowing a member to focus on their mission. “Key spouses are able to cultivate and maintain the connection with families, reach out, and provide relief and referrals,” Amos said.
During the training, the spouses were surprised to receive small gifts for their service in honor of spousal appreciation month.
"I wanted to give them appreciation for what they will do as key spouses because it's a volunteer role," Amos said.
Brig. Gen. Russell A. Muncy, commander, 452nd Air Mobility Wing, was in attendance to honor the new key spouses and recognizes that the reserve component depends on a healthy family and civilian life for its members, whereas a challenged family and civilian life may cause a member to decide on quitting the service.
"We are an all-volunteer force and it is my desire to keep the balance between our members' family, military, and civilian careers, and you are key to that," Muncy said to the spouses, "I view the Department of Defense this way: we have the Air Force, we have the Army, we have the Navy, we have the Marines, but we have another branch of service, and it is the most important branch of service, and the largest branch of service, and that is the family."
Amos expressed the need for more spouses to join the program now that it is up and running.
"We are always looking for key spouses. I ask that if a spouse is someone that is eager to help people, if they are a go-getter--a resourceful person--that they contact their spouse's commander." Amos said, "There are never enough key spouses to support the mission of the family in the absence of a spouse."