JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
An informational session that helps military spouses learn about the Air Force culture and resources available to them is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Military & Family Readiness Center, 555 F St. West.
Funded by the Air Force Aid Society, Heart Link is an orientation for military spouses of less than five years, but it also benefits spouses new to a duty station, said Brandy Wright, JBSA-Randolph M&FRC community readiness consultant.
“We encourage all spouses to attend,” she said. “We realize that each military base is different. When service members have a new duty station, it is beneficial for their spouses to come learn about their new local area and connect with other spouses.”
Topics covered at Heart Link include the Air Force mission, protocol, acronyms, TRICARE, finances, resiliency, available resources and more, Wright said.
“We also have a lot of fun at Heart Link,” she said. “Lunch is provided along with a guided tour of the Taj Mahal and the east control tower. At the Taj, the spouses will participate in a coining ceremony; each of them will be given a Heart Link coin to welcome them to our military family.”
In addition to providing spouses with a plethora of information, Heart Link provides an opportunity for them to meet and connect with other military spouses, Wright said.
“The camaraderie of Heart Link is essential,” she said. “The relationships that are formed through Heart Link are irreplaceable. During times of deployment, it seems like everything happens. The car breaks down, the kids get sick, the dog is missing or the air conditioning goes out in the house. It’s good to have a fellow spouse that can relate or help overcome difficult situations.”
Key Spouses also have a role at Heart Link sessions, Wright said. Key Spouses are volunteers chosen by unit commanders who serve the families of deployed Airmen, but also address the needs of other military families.
“Key Spouses are a valuable asset to Heart Link,” she said. “Our Key Spouses are a source of information and referral. We encourage them to attend so they can tell other spouses about Heart Link.”
Presenters at Heart Link encourage spouses to ask questions, Wright said.
“This program is all about increasing knowledge and awareness about our military community,” she said. “If we don’t have the answer to a question, we will do our best to find the answer.”
Heart Link helps spouses feel empowered, Wright said.
“They learn a ton of important information that will help them as their service members navigates throughout their military careers,” she said. “I remember hearing one military spouse say it was like a light bulb just clicked on in her head. This spouse learned so much and was ready for her life within the military community.”
Spouses also learn they are the heart of the military mission.
“While service members are away serving their country, our spouses are here serving our community and holding down the home front,” Wright said. “The Air Force is so grateful for military spouses. They realize the importance of spouses when it comes to increasing retention within the military.
“It is imperative that our military spouses become acclimated to our military culture and learn to capitalize on available resources.”
Wright noted that the Heart Link session falls on Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
“I would like to encourage spouses to register for Heart Link so we can show our appreciation on this special day,” she said.
To register for Heart Link, call the JBSA-Randolph M&FRC at 210-652-5321.