What is a Key Spouse?

(U.S. Air Force graphic/ Airman 1st Class Joshua Edwards)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas-- Key Spouses are trained volunteers that provide personal, peer-to-peer support for their squadron's families. Their role is to care for families by providing them with information from their squadron's leadership about events, programs, and other available resources during periods of separation. (U.S. Air Force graphic/ Airman 1st Class Joshua Edwards)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Key Spouses are trained volunteers that provide personal, peer-to-peer support for their squadron's families.

Their role is to act as a liaison between families, commanders and first sergeants as well as to care for families by providing them with information from their squadron's leadership about events, programs and other available resources during periods of separation.

For Kristi H. Hamrick, Key Spouse mentor, being a Key Spouse means being a part of a network of spouses that help assist the Air Force family.

"The Key Spouse program is a grass-roots program designed to help the Air Force family, not just my family," said Hamrick. "A lot of times we are separated from our family and we need to draw in people to make a larger community."
Hamrick said this all-volunteer force has been in place more than 20 years, and has not had an official program which includes training, appointment letters and reference guides until recently.

"Being a Key Spouse is a lot of work; you don't get paid but it's a lot of fun and it should be, which is why it should be done by volunteers," added Hamrick.

Key Spouses are required to go through training to learn how to interact with people who are in need, give information to incoming spouses and how to direct service members and spouses to the correct helping agencies depending on the situation in which assistance is needed.

Gen. Mark A. Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, believes that being a key spouse plays an important role in the Air Force community.

"I believe spouses' incredible breadth of experience and enduring influence are invaluable to you as a commander during this pivotal time of great change," said Welsh in a memorandum to all squadron commanders and first sergeants. "With this smart, talented, engaged group of spouses who represent the bedrock of our Airmen, key spouses are bridging a gap to ensure that you know of any concerns that would impact morale and readiness."

Although Hamrick has only been a Goodfellow Key Spouse mentor for a little over two weeks, she has been a Key Spouse over 20 years and has confidence in the program that is already in place here.

As a training base, Goodfellow has a large student population. A student's spouse who would like to be a Key Spouse would have to be appointed by the squadron commander as would any spouse applying to be a Key Spouse.

For more information on being a Key Spouse, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 325-654-3893 or visit the Goodfellow Key Spouse program at http://www.goodfellow.af.mil/units/keyspouseprogram.asp.