Key Spouse program strengthens units

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Hanscom Key Spouse program is armed with volunteers who are ready to help but is constantly on the lookout for new members willing to donate time to support the local military community.

The program is part of the Unit Family Readiness Program designed to enhance personal and family resiliency, readiness and establish a sense of community.

“The Key Spouse Program seeks to connect our community by breaking down barriers for our spouses to get help when needed,” said Christina D’Amico, Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant, who manages the program here.

The program accomplishes that through peer support, resource information and privacy-protected direct lines of communication with unit leadership, including first sergeants and commanders.

At Hanscom, more than 20 volunteers serve as Key Spouses and Key Spouse Mentors in the program.

"The scope of the program also covers the Exceptional Family Member Program, relocation support and assistance for those with extended separations from loved ones," said D’Amico.

Key Spouses, typically spouses of military members, are volunteers who are willing to share a few hours each month to connect with families.

To become a Key Spouse volunteer, D’Amico said individuals must attend six hours of initial training conducted at the A&FRC and then attend quarterly training after.

“There are so many reasons why a person would want to become a key spouse, but my why was simply because I have a genuine love for people and a heart to help in any capacity that I can,” said LaSheena K. Brunson, a key spouse for the Airspace Mission Planning Division in the Digital Directorate.

Brunson has been at Hanscom for nearly two years and a Key Spouse on the base for much of that time. She previously served as a key spouse at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

The program addresses the needs of all military families during separation, but has special emphasis on support to families throughout the deployment cycle.

“There is a support system of Key Spouses and spouses within the unit that are there to support others during deployments, but also during temporary duty, births and deaths,” said Brunson.

She added it’s the “community that sticks together like family.”

Another aspect of the program is the role of first sergeants.

“The Key Spouse Program promotes partnerships throughout an organization, especially with our unit senior leaders,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Francois, a first sergeant for the 66th Air Base Group and 66th Security Forces Squadron. “Key spouses do a tremendous job of caring for our deployers’ spouses and communicating the concerns they may have with commanders.”

This is a point Brunson highlights.

“We need spouses to know that their leadership is listening,” Brunson said. “Key Spouses are the backbone and the heart and soul of an organization.”

For more information, or to get involved in the Key Spouse Program, contact D’Amico at 781-225-2765.