Within minutes of receiving a phone call about her active duty wife’s deployment, Reyna Williams said she found support and comfort from the Scott Air Force Base spouse community.
“I was honestly calling everyone saying, ‘O.K., I need you guys,’” she said. “Nobody understands that like a military spouse.”
Because of the unique challenges that military families face, military spouses lean on each other as if they were family. Whether it be helping to alleviate everyday stresses or helping each other through a time of grief, spouses play a crucial role in the support of the mission, their families and each other.
And to show spouses their role is valued and to thank them for all they do, the DoD celebrates Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 11. At Scott Air Force Base, several spouses will be thanked during a movie night at the base lake that night. In addition, earlier this week Waterloo’s Mayor declared May 11 as Military Spouse Appreciation Day as well.
“(Spouses) help you in ways that your family, who may be four states away, can’t,” said Reyna, who is married to Master Sgt. Robin Williams, Air Mobility Command administration craftsman.
She said it’s important for spouse to connect to each other and that she has grown closer with other spouses through Key Spouses, an official Air Force program that fosters relationships between spouses and unit leaders. In this program spouses volunteer and receive training to help ensure families stay strong to ultimately be able to support the unit’s mission.
Felicia Davis said another way for spouses to connect is through the Scott Spouses’ Club, an organization whose goal is to organize educational, charitable, and social activities to benefit the base and its surrounding community.
Additionally, the group helps support each other and other spouses during times of hardship and stress, helping to create the feeling of being part of a family.
Davis, who’s married to Tech. Sgt. Andrew Davis, Air Force Space Command Cyberspace Support Squadron, explained the importance of spouse connections when her husband wasn’t able to make it to their family’s spring break trip. Her neighbor, also a military spouse, filled in his place at the last minute.
“We all made it a big friend trip,” Davis said, adding her children even call her friends “auntie” because of their closeness.
For Reyna, support from fellow spouses came while living at Yokota Air Base, Japan.
She said she witnessed the spouse community band together to help an Airman whose in-laws passed away. Their efforts to bring in food or watch children ultimately helped to relieve some of the stress that family was experiencing.
Davis said that while at Lackland AFB, Texas, she witnessed spouses aiding in the grieving process after a service member was killed in an on-base shooting. She said that spouses protected the victims’ families from media trying to invade their personal space during their time of grief.
These are just two examples of many military spouses who don’t just help each other, but also help the communities in which they live. More profiles of military spouses can be found on Scott’s Facebook Page or www.scott.af.mil.