JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
The Air Force family is critical in fostering resiliency during a military career and especially during a global pandemic.
Key spouses act as a link between family members and units by communicating information and providing a sense of belonging so service members can focus on the Air Force mission.
“The Key Spouse program helps in bridging potential communication gaps by addressing current quality of life concerns, and linking families to helping agencies and ensuring families feel connected,” said Shannon Koehler, 15th Wing key spouse mentor, and wife of the 15th Wing command chief.
With new challenges presented due to COVID-19, key spouses use technology to continue their mission.
“Key spouses are using social media, telephone rosters, and email to check-in on families,” said Koehler, who has been a key spouse mentor for 11 years. “A lot of units are hosting Zoom chats and one is doing virtual coffee dates to help stay in touch with each other.”
Spring Tate, 324th Intelligence Squadron key spouse, stays in contact with spouses by connecting via social media, Zoom conferences, and small acts of kindness.
“It’s important to post all vital information to our Facebook and Instagram, while also making posts to check in mentally with our families,” said Tate. “We promote posts that can help our families cope with the stress of COVID-19, mentally and physically. Personally, I have also connected with another spouse and we have dropped off small care packages to a few families.”
Making sure resources, support, and relevant information are available to families is not only a 15th Wing priority but also a Department of Defense priority.
The DoD is closely monitoring the impact of the new coronavirus on service members, their families, and survivors. Resources offered through Military OneSource, the Military and Family Life Counseling program, and the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program continue to serve the military community.
“We are working hard to provide timely and accurate updates and helpful resources for our service members and their families,” said Kim Joiner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. “Our families can feel confident about finding official information and guidance on our websites and social media platforms. While we have made necessary changes in response to this pandemic, one thing remains the same – our commitment to serving our military community.”