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Air Force officials launch updated Key Spouse program

As part of the July 2009-July 2010 Year of the Air Force Family initiative, the service's senior leaders have announced the launch of a revised and standardized Key Spouse program. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

As part of the July 2009-July 2010 Year of the Air Force Family initiative, the service's senior leaders have announced the launch of a revised and standardized Key Spouse program. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- As part of the July 2009-July 2010 Year of the Air Force Family initiative, the service's senior leaders have announced the launch of a revised and standardized Key Spouse program. 

Paula Roy, wife of Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy, is the senior spouse champion for the program and her video endorsement will open each Key Spouse training session. 

Key Spouse is an official communication network designed to enhance readiness and establish a sense of community among unit leaders, Airmen and their families, said Gretchen Shannon, the Airman and Family Readiness chief. 

"The Key Spouse program is an excellent way to bridge communication gaps and maintain contact with families to inform, support or refer them as needed," Ms. Shannon said. 

A Key Spouse volunteer may be the spouse of an officer, an enlisted Airman, a Department of Defense civilian or other qualified person connected to the unit. Unit leaders formally select and appoint each Key Spouse. Senior officer or enlisted spouses are encouraged to serve as mentors or advisers. Staff members from the installation Airmen and Famly Readiness Center provide initial and update training and serve as a referral resource for Key Spouses.

The program's structure is designed so the unit commander, Key Spouse, first sergeant, and Key Spouse mentor work as a team to ensure 100 percent follow-up with separated families. 

In addition to ongoing contact with separated families, Key Spouse activities may include publishing monthly newsletters for waiting family members, involvement in official and unofficial meetings or squadron events and distribution of deployment "survival" information, said Lorraine Neuser, the Airman and Family Readiness policy deputy chief. 

"Whether addressing issues at the lowest possible level or simply being an ear for questions or concerns an Airman's family may have, the Key Spouse program is a great force multiplier," Ms. Neuser said. "This valuable tool supports families during separations and other emergency situations, while enhancing communication between leadership, spouses and other family members." 

Desk and resource guides have been developed for all Key Spouse team members. For more information about the Key Spouse program, contact the staff at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

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