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Key spouses care for Airmen and families

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Solomon Cook
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The Airman & Family Readiness Center held a Tyndall Key Spouse training course here Aug. 16.


The Key Spouse program was developed as a quality of life initiative out of concern for Air Force families.


“The purpose of the Key Spouse Program is to promote individual, family and unit readiness,” said Nancy King, 325th Force Support Squadron at the Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant. "Key Spouses welcome families to the unit, help disseminate information from leadership, offer support to families of deployed members and provide assistance to families in need.”


The Key Spouse Program wants to let the families know there is someone always looking out for them, and to make sure the commanders and first sergeants know they have someone to lean on to help with family needs, said Tonya Boutwell Satom, a key spouse at Continental U.S. NORAD Region-1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern).


“The commanders takes care of their service members; the Key Spouses take care of their families. We are here to be a resource for families, to help in transition from base to base and to make the adjustments easier. We also help new spouses adjust to military life,”Satom said.


Families sacrifice a lot for the sake of the military life, whether it is short notice permanent changes of station, frequently changing schools or sporadic schedules. The Key Spouse Program is at the center of making sure the mission is accomplished and Airmen and their families are cared for, said Lt. Col. Daniel Roberts, 325th Medical Support Squadron commander.


“People are our most critical asset for mission success, regardless of mission set,” Roberts said. “Airmen go out and do amazing things every hour of every day, for the support and defense of our nation. The Key Spouse program is a great way to engage our families, and take care of our Airmen.”


Although Key Spouses may have other jobs, their role as a key spouse is considered to be an employee of the Federal Government in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1588 – Authority to Accept Certain Voluntary Services.


The assistance key spouses provide to the base can be seen almost anywhere. Sometimes it’s the small acts that have the biggest impact.


“One day in January 2015, I was admitted into the hospital for overnight observation for chest pains,” said retired Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund. “I was released the following day. Shortly after being dropped off at home, my doorbell rang. Julianna Saratsis, a key spouse member from 1st Air Force, was at the door holding a bag containing a large bowl of hot homemade chicken soup, bread, salad and dessert. I was extremely touched by all this, to say the least.”


He is forever grateful toward Saratsis and the other key spouses who are ready to help Airmen and families across the base, Skoglund said.


Bases across the Air Force have key spouses ready to take care of Airmen and their families.


For those who wish to get more information about the program or wish to become a key spouse, call your unit first sergeant, commander or the A&FRC at 850-283-4204.