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Key Spouse program supports military families

  • Published
  • By Airman Daniel Lile
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Keeping deployed members' spouses involved and in the loop can be difficult for commanders and first sergeants to keep up. The key spouse program exists to make sure families are taken care of.

"The key spouse program mission is based on readiness, retention and resiliency," said Carmine Muscarella, Airman and Family Readiness Center Community Readiness Consultant. "Key spouses are in a position where they are going to interact with families on a more frequent and candid basis than commanders and first sergeants."

The key spouse program, a group of base leadership's spouses who help keep other spouses informed, was started to aid base leadership with caring for Airmen's families while the member is deployed. Today it continues to help families in both war and peace time.

"It's a purpose-driven program," Muscarella said. "It's there to make sure families have what they need. They have a link to resources and they have a vent to help with problems so spouses have someone they are comfortable talking to that can help them with difficulties."

The key spouse program emphasizes communication with families to get them involved in base and community activities.

"The more people who know about what is going on around Columbus, the more they will get involved and embrace the community and the base," said retired Chief Master Sgt. Derk Felton, key spouse and husband of Chief Master Sgt. Rita Felton, 14th Flying Training Wing Command Chief. "The key spouse program communicates that we are all here together and you are not by yourself. If you need help all you have to do is ask."
Airmen can be reassured their families are looked after while deployed because of the key spouse program.

"The advantages and benefits to the Key Spouse program are to keep the Airmen and their families informed of programs available to them through base agencies and programs," said Michelle Nichols, key spouse and wife of Col. John Nichols, 14th Flying Training Wing Commander. "It also gives leadership the peace of mind knowing our Airmen and their families are being taken care of by reaching out to them individually."

Airmen and their families are encouraged to utilize the key spouse program.

"To the spouses here at Columbus AFB, I'd like to encourage them to take advantage of the Key Spouse program, whether that might be through volunteering or using the information they can attain through their key spouse," Mrs. Nichols said.