Heart Link helps Air Force spouses

  • Published
  • By Sara Harr
  • 48th Force Support Squadron
Air Force spouses can learn more about the Air Force lifestyle during the Airman & Family Readiness Center's Heart Link, June 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Eagles' Landing.

Heart Link is a spouse orientation program geared toward strengthening military families and enhancing mission readiness. Heart Link's objective is to increase spouse awareness of the Air Force mission, customs, traditions, protocol and community resources that support Air Force families. Spouses will also learn the integral part they play in the mission.

The program was developed in 1999 by a working group at Air Combat Command, and the first Heart Link took place at Langley Air Force Base in 2000. General John P. Jumper, former Air Force Chief of Staff, requested Air Force-wide participation in 2002.

The Lakenheath A&FRC is partnering with base agencies that include the Wing chapel, Health and Wellness Center, Family Advocacy, Lakenheath Library, Drug Demand Reduction, School Liaison Officer, Military Personnel Services, Family Child Care providers, Officer and Enlisted Spouses' Clubs, WIC-Overseas and more.

"Heart Link is a collaborative effort of all the agencies of the Integrated Delivery System and would not be the success it is without their support and willingness to come and brief the spouses," said Fran Sizer, A&FRC community readiness technician.

In addition to appearances by several Wing agencies, Heart Link will cover several topics of interest for Air Force spouses, including resources and referrals. Also included is the Seasoned Spouses Panel, an opportunity where new spouses can hear first-hand accounts from spouses who have experienced everything in the military lifestyle.

"Hearing how these spouses have dealt with deployments and moving from place to place gives the new spouses a sense of comfort -- knowing that there are so many other people who know exactly what they are going through," said Ms. Sizer. "This is an invaluable piece of the program and one that makes RAF Lakenheath's Heart Link program unique."

Spouses will come away with a better understanding of the family's role within the Air Force --promoting a sense of preparedness and adaptability to their new surroundings. Spouses will also be able to identify and respond appropriately to the challenges of the Air Force way of life.

"Heart Link is growing with every quarterly event," said Jeffrey Halstead, A&FRC director. "We have great support from squadron, group and wing commanders, so you can expect to see this program with additional resources and exciting new fun in the future."

Overall, Heart Link helps develop a sense of community, acclimates spouses to the Air Force lifestyle, inducts spouses into a network of peers, improves quality of life for married couples and provides a supportive environment to address concerns. This program will teach spouses where they can go for information, discuss available benefits and educate new spouses on the military lingo, protocols and traditions.

All Air Force spouses are encouraged to attend this event; however, spouses of five years or less will have priority placement.

"The day begins with breakfast and a welcome from the 48th Fighter Wing commander, who briefs the missions of the Air Force, the wing mission, Air Expeditionary Forces and United States Air Forces Europe," Ms. Sizer went on to say. "Additionally, each spouse completing the program will receive a coin from the 48th Mission Support Group commander."

For more information about Heart Link or to reserve a seat, call the A&FRC at 226-3847.