JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
Ten Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Key Spouses completed initial training hosted by the Military and Family Readiness Center at JBER’s log cabin, Oct. 16, 2018.
The day-long briefing consisted of an overall program review, rules and responsibilities, communication, diversity, personally identifiable information, sexual assault briefing, suicide prevention and resiliency training, said Frederica Norman, Key Spouse program manager. With the 10 new members, the all-volunteer program now stands at 100 participants.
At the event’s conclusion, volunteers were awarded a silver key-shaped pin, signifying their official role as Key Spouses.
Key Spouses are selected by unit commanders to provide support for their squadron's families, Norman said. Their role is to care for families by providing information from their squadron's leadership about events, programs and other available resources. They also serve as a point of contact when spouses need to communicate any difficulties they may be experiencing.
“During moving season, the number of Key Spouses changes drastically,” Norman said. “When I first came here about three years ago, we had 120 volunteers and shortly after that it dropped to 50.”
The MFRC hosts a quarterly training session to replace losses.
Every unit has an appointed Key Spouse; however, there are times when there are gaps.
Units can have more than one Key Spouse to prevent this, Norman said. Some proactive units have three or four.
There’s no limit to the number of years a spouse can volunteer. Allison Hardy, a new JBER volunteer, served as a Key Spouse for seven years at her last duty station.
“It’s hard to feel a sense of community when you’re so far from home and extended family,” Hardy said.
“We were recently stationed at a base that had a high deployment tempo,” she said. “We would call partners of deployed service members regularly to see if they needed anything and to let them know about the resources they have available.
“I remember one spouse I worked with had two children and one on the way,” Hardy said. “Since her husband was deployed, we helped her during her pregnancy. We helped a lot of wives who had babies when their husbands were deployed.”
For more information about becoming a Key Spouse, contact your unit commander’s section, first sergeant or the MFRC.