JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
"There is no greater calling than helping those who serve our country."
Tanya Reber, the Headquarters Air Force Recruiting Service key spouse, called this simple message her mission statement as she adapts one of the Air Force's unit family readiness programs to the Air Force recruiter community. Unlike many key spouse programs that support a single location, Reber hopes to take the key spouse support system worldwide for Air Force recruiters everywhere.
"Our recruiters are assigned to recruiting stations worldwide and many are accompanied by their families,"
Reber said. "They may live in a military community, but can still be geographically separated from other recruiters and only recruiters know what to expect in the field. Like other spouses of active-duty personnel, recruiter spouses often put their careers and education on hold for these assignments but, with today's technology, spouses can network like never before. I hope all spouses will reach out to each other so we can create a lasting online community to support our recruiters and their families."
Every recruiting squadron is expected to have a key spouse of their own and Reber is trying to reach out to all of them.
She added that spouses today are very fortunate to receive education opportunities without incurring debt, but many spouses do not know about additional resources to support them and their families. As the HQ AFRS key spouse, Reber combines her human resources education with her social media management skills to create an online clearinghouse via Facebook for information for spouses.
During the day, Reber works for the Defense Language Institute as a scheduler for English language courses for military personnel from other countries. Because her employer encourages volunteerism toward military morale programs, Reber volunteers as a moderator for Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph's Military Family Readiness Center.
As a moderator, Reber uses Facebook to push information out to families on education and career opportunities and has now created a Facebook page for recruiter spouses. The AFRS Key Spouse Program allows Reber to combine her social media savvy with her love of problem-solving and desire to help other military families through the key spouses in their squadron.
"We want the spouses to reach out, exchange information and share their experiences so that we can create that online community for everyone's benefit," Reber said. "If someone has a question, I love to do the research. If there's a problem, let's find a remedy together."
Her husband, Tech. Sgt. Daniel Reber, is a client systems technician for Headquarters AFRS. He said that he and his wife work together to understand the nuances and pitfalls of Internet-based communications - he focuses on the technology aspect and she focuses on the social media delivery. They also work together raising their two sons.
"We learned how to balance what was needed, both for our jobs and our home," he said. "We split the household chores and tradeoff between cooking and cleaning so we can both pursue our own careers. And I have time to spend with the kids. That always feels good."
Reber said the success of both the recruiter's and family's goals can be assured by balancing the workload of both. The mission always come first, she said, but families are equally important because recruiters are just as much parents as they are Airmen.
"There are more than 1,000 recruiting personnel serving the Air Force worldwide," said Brig. Gen. James C. Johnson, AFRS commander. "Reaching out to all of them will be very challenging, but I think the benefits of Tanya's outreach initiative will be substantial and contribute to greater resiliency."
The AFRS Key Spouse Facebook page is located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AFRSHQKeySpouse/