Key Spouse program trains new members

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Richard Mekkri

The spouses of nearly 25 military members from the 107th Attack Wing and the 914th Air Refueling Wing met here, Sunday, April 8, 2018, to attend a Key Spouse Training certification course. The course covered topics in communication as well as resources and benefits that are available to families while a military family member is deployed.

The Key Spouse Program is an official unit/family program designed to enhance readiness and establish a sense of Air Force community. It is a commander’s program that promotes partnerships with unit leadership, volunteer Key Spouses appointed by the commander, families, the Airman & Family Readiness Center and other community and helping agencies.  The program has been standardized across the Air Force to address the needs of all military families with special emphasis on support to families across the deployment cycle.

Master Sgt. Terry Jones, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Airman and Family Readiness at the 914th said that the Key Spouses are an all-volunteer group and are an integral part of unit cohesion on base.

Jones stressed that although they are not counselors, the key spouses are a valuable source of information and an important referral source for families.

“They can relate a little better to a spouse if they, themselves, are spouses.” said Jones.

Jones said that a being a spouse of a deployed military member carries a certain amount of experience. That experience can help other spouses who have yet to experience military life or life while deployed.

“Our main job is to take care of families during deployments,” said Betsy Russell, 914th Key Spouse Chairperson. “We bridge the gap between the community and military, not just their spouses, but the families as a whole.”

Russell is married to Master Sgt. Todd Russell, a Boom Operator, with the 328th Operations Squadron at Niagara.

“We are all involved with the military in some way, shape or form,” said Russell, “whether we’re serving or our spouse or significant other is serving, it means a lot to have the volunteers who are willing to work alongside the military here.”

During the course of the five-hour training, spouses participated in interactive activities that taught them varying communication techniques, lessons in generational diversity, and how best to relate and relay information.

For more information on resources offered, or to join the Key Spouse program, contact Betsy Russell at 914thKeySpouse@gmail.com or 716.984.8459.