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Heart of the Team

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Members from the 927th Air Refueling Wing Key Spouse Program attend an initial training June 1, 2019, at MacDill AFB, Fla. Volunteer Key Spouses are commander-appointed and serve as a vital resource to command teams as they support Air Force families. (U. S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Alexis Suarez)

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Key Spouses members learn how to be prepared for natural disasters June 1, 2019, during the initial Key Spouse training. Key Spouse Program training prepares Key Spouses to be able to provide awareness and community resources to military spouses in the unit. (U. S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Alexis Suarez)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, FLA — Eleven spouses gathered in the 927th Air Refueling Wing Headquarters June 1, to participate in a Key Spouse Training. These 11 people were selected and appointed in writing by unit commanders to be official unit representatives for the U. S. Air Force Key Spouse program. The program strengthens family resilience and builds a sense of community amongst Airmen and families.

“I became a Key Spouse because I see the value it provides to our Reserve Air Force families,” said Amy Stouffer, 927 Air Refueling Wing Key Spouse Mentor. “I also want to provide the training, tools, and resource networks necessary to help the Key Spouses be the ‘go-to’ people for the wing, group, and squadron families.”

Military spouses undergo a plethora of challenges from changing duty stations to deployments, but with Key Spouses, military spouses are provided support and connections to resources and helping agencies so deployments, moving and other events of military life doesn’t seem as difficult. Key Spouses have duties and responsibilities that include providing peer-to-peer support to families, bringing awareness of community resources, preparing and supporting families during deployments. Their involvement enhances resiliency for the military families they support, helping families overcome adversity and succeed in the face of setback

“Being resilient means to keep going, when you fall you get back up,” said Holly Nance, 927 ARW Key Spouse. “Other spouses need to know they have someone to come to for encouragement and support.”

The day long training event was broken down into modules to teach and mentor the Key Spouses on how to assist with everything from maintaining family contact rosters, to organizing pre- and post-deployment events, to help Air Force families be empowered and resilient.