RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
When Airmen travel to far-flung corners of the globe for deployments or permanent changes in station, their spouses are often left behind raising children and running a household.
Family members and spouses have medical care and education, they have housing and grocery money, but something was missing - something personal.
"The Cat's Away group started as an officers' spouses' club special activities group several years ago," said Cathy Murphy, Cat's Away chairwoman and the wife of Col. Richard Murphy, 12th Flying Training Wing commander. "This summer, as we discussed the special activities groups to be offered to membership, this group came up and I was told it was a group to support spouses of the deployed."
She said the Cat's Away group fell into inactivity because of a lack of leadership.
"These spouses are near and dear to my heart, so I offered to chair the group," she said. "As I have met spouses in our community, I realized there was a need to support more than officers' spouses."
Mrs. Murphy said it can be difficult for spouses of deployed servicemembers to find other spouses in the same situation, since many deployments and PCS's aren't with entire units. Some spouses stay behind to allow children to finish high school, start college or raise special-needs children.
"I realized there were young enlisted spouses to seasoned general officer spouses, as well as Army and Air Force spouses holding down the fort," she said. "They all have one thing in common: a need for friendships that could relate to what they are going through."
She said her goal is to partner with the Airman and Family Readiness Center and other groups such as the chaplain staff to coordinate support and hopefully build a strong connected community for these spouses.
"The group is still in its infancy and growing faster than I could ever imagine. The support has been incredible with families offering to babysit, mow lawns, handy work around the house," Mrs. Murphy said. "I believe if there was a need requested, I could put out an email to the group of volunteers and someone would come forward to help out."
For more information, Cat's Away can be contacted through email at CatsAwaySPCA@gmail.com