Key Spouse program provides family support, friendship

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann
  • 624th Regional Support Group
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – Key Spouse volunteers from Hawaii and Guam have made it their kuleana, or responsibility, to support the 624th Regional Support Group by promoting a greater sense of an Air Force community among Airmen and their families.

The Key Spouse program is designed to enhance readiness by connecting families of Airmen with their squadrons. The volunteers give back to the RSG community by providing information, resources and support to families as they balance civilian and military life.

“I highly encourage Key Spouse involvement on all levels,” said Col. Kenneth Lute, commander, 624th Regional Support Group. “The volunteers benefit the unit by creating stronger leadership support teams that consider the family’s needs. Beyond that, Airmen and family resiliency is enhanced, and overall morale, quality of life and military readiness is improved.”

A key benefit to the program is supporting families of the unit's deployed Airmen.

“The Key Spouse is a valuable resource to families, especially during a deployment,” said Leslie Lute, the key spouse mentor for the 624th Regional Support Group. “They will call the families of the deployed Airmen about once a month just to check on them and provide them with helpful information.”

Each Key Spouse completes a nine-module training course to learn their role, as well as specialized courses that cover sexual assault prevention and suicide awareness.

“A commander is free to choose whomever they feel will enhance their communication and be an advocate for families,” said Leslie Lute. “This person is usually connected to an Airman either by family or close relationship. The volunteer doesn’t have to be a spouse.”

One of the Key Spouse’s for the 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron was encouraged to volunteer by his daughter.

“My daughter felt the unit could use someone with military experience as their Key Spouse,” said Gary Mobley, a retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. with 26 years of service. “I have experience working with Soldiers and their families, which will help me with any future challenges I may face. I know what can happen and what will happen when a service member deploys.”

The Key Spouse program helps reduce anxiety for deployed service members, said Mobley.

“When an Airmen is deployed the mission comes first, so they need to be able to focus and not worry about problems at home.” said Mobley. “If the service member knows his or her family is being looked after while they are deployed it will allow them to have a free conscience. The service member will perform better and the unit will be more productive overall.”

The program also creates an environment where life-long friendships are made, said Naupa Warnet, 48th Aerial Port Squadron Key Spouse.

“The Key Spouse program is beneficial for the unit’s family members so they know who to contact and talk to when they are having an emergency or issue,” said Warnet. “I benefit because I get to know other spouses. Overall it is a good way to help, communicate and support each other. It helps grow the unit into a family.”

Key Spouses will help connect families with resources for any life issue that may arise, such as legal matters, childcare, finances, counseling and more.

“I encourage Airmen to let their families know about their Key Spouse,” said Leslie Lute. “Military life can be frustrating when the family feels they are in the dark about what is happening on base. The Key Spouse can help shed light onto any issues they may be having and be a great resource for the family.”

If you would like be a Key Spouse, contact your unit's First Sergeant or Commander, or call 808-449-7232. Currently, the Hawaii team of Key Spouses includes: Alberto Morales and James Griffin for the 624th RSG Group Staff; Napua Warnet, Richelle Concepcion and Rae Matsuo for the 48th APS; Gary Mobley and Kelli Cole for the 624th ASTS; and Imelda Pascua for the 624th Civil Engineer Squadron . The Guam team includes: Arthur San Agustin, Brandon Santos and Rizalina Fernandez for the 624th Aerospace Medicine Flight; and Lavina Camacho for the 44th APS.