Key spouses and their family members, along with staff from Air Force Research Laboratory’s Operations Support Office, assemble care packages for 20 deployed AFRL team members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alaina Fitzner)

Key spouse volunteers help families of deployers

Have you ever pressed through a tough morning getting the kids ready for school, spouse is deployed, you’re running behind so you rush to get into your car and it doesn’t start?

What are your options at this point? You don’t know a thing about cars; neither were you prepared for such a time.

You remembered that your spouse gave you a list of contacts for emergencies prior to deploying. As you skim the list, you are reluctant to call your spouse’s leadership. Instead you decide to contact the unit key spouse, a volunteer who has extensive experience in dealing with the challenges of the military lifestyle and who is knowledgeable in resources for military families.

Units taking care of fellow Airmen helps them to stay effective in job performance; moreover, force multipliers such as key spouses give Airmen peace-of-mind in knowing that their families are getting connected with essential information and support services. Airmen are better able to focus on their jobs in fulfilling the Air Force mission.

Jacqueline Shazor, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s key spouse coordinator, said that the program is very much needed by the families. She explained that at Wright-Patt, the key spouses do not just function as liaisons between the families and the units, but they also assist with events throughout the year.

“They have helped with putting care packages together to send overseas, assisted with holiday events for the families, helped new families acclimate to the base, and even made T-shirts with unit logos for newborn babies,” said Shazor.

In another example, Shazor said that Wright-Patt key spouses put together a care package for a grieving mother who lost a child and how the resources helped her.

The Key Spouse program is an official Air Force unit family readiness program designed to enhance mission readiness and resiliency and establish a sense of community, according to Air Force Instruction 36-3009.

The program is owned by unit commanders who set the goals and objectives for the program and assign key personnel for the team.

Key spouse volunteers can be military spouses or Department of Defense civilians and are trained annually.

For more information on the Key Spouse program, contact the Airman & Family Readiness Center at 937-257-3592.

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