Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

April 21, 2016 at 8:49am

Team McChord honors their Key Spouses

Members of the Team McChord Key Spouses pose for a photo during the Key Spouse Luncheon April 13, 2016 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

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More than 50 U.S. Air Force spouses received special recognition for their contributions to the Team McChord Key Spouse Program during the 2016 Key Spouse Appreciation Luncheon at the McChord Club, April 13 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"Today, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone on a military installation who hasn't felt the warmth of the Key Spouse Program.  As a Key Spouse, you are entrusted with taking care of not only your own family, but also of those from your units," said Tech. Sgt. James Lee, McChord Field Airman Leadership School instructor and emcee for the event.  "You enhance the mission by providing a two-way avenue between unit leadership and families."

"Simply put, you are the force multiplier when it comes to connecting families with services. And you have demonstrated success in strengthening units while building a sense of belonging and community. Our airmen are really good at what they do, and we need to be really good at taking care of their families. Our Key Spouses are the cornerstone that builds a strong family and maintains a resilient force."

The event, which included a free lunch and childcare for the spouses in attendance, was an opportunity for McChord commanders and first sergeants to show appreciation for everything key spouses do to support the airmen and the mission.

During the event, several guest speakers were given an opportunity to talk about the Key Spouse program.

Mrs. Diana Burr, McChord Field Key Spouse coordinator, was one of those guest speakers.

"I've been working with the Key Spouse program for about eight years," said Burr. "During this time, I've heard some pretty amazing stories regarding the work that our Key Spouses do every day. For this, I am extremely happy you are being honored today for your many, many contributions to our Team McChord families."

Burr spoke about the "time" Key Spouse volunteers put into this program and how grateful she was for that "time" they donate.

"When I think about the time you as a Key Spouse donate to our Air Force family, it truly humbles me," said Burr. "You go through trainings, attend meetings, commanders calls, spouse calls, deployment fairs, you take on phone calls, make meals for sick spouses or meals for families of a deployed military member, and you spend time sitting at hospitals when families need that comfort and support."

"You do all of this and yet you all have your own families to tend to; you have your own spouses; you have jobs; you go to school; you have your own kids events to attend. Still, time after time, year after year, you continue to volunteer your time supporting our community, making it stronger; making our Air Force stronger."

"So today, I'm here to say thank you. Thank you for graciously giving us and our families your time. You must know that you are an extremely valuable member of our team and of our Air Force family, and I truly appreciate and thank you for your time."

Another guest speaker for the event was Mrs. Stephanie McNeal, 62nd Operations Group Key Spouse and 2015 Team McChord Key Spouse of the Year.

McNeal spoke of how she was first approached about being a Key Spouse and how although she was introvert, she decided she would take on this role and how it has benefited her so much now.

"I have a servants heart, so when I was approached about becoming a Key Spouse, my automatic response was ‘absolutely, I will work where I am needed,'" said McNeal. "But then it started to sink in that I will have to approach strangers and introduce myself. I may even be a person's first impression of the squadron."

She spoke of overcoming those obstacles and for the past three years has been an active Key Spouse of McChord Field.

"I have sat for eight hours in hospitals, stayed overnight, provided meals, witnessed the birth of a baby, ran errands for sick spouse and babysat. Not because I am a Key Spouse but because I have developed a genuine and lasting friendship with many of the ladies in my local spouse group."

"Somewhere along the way I began to realize that introducing myself to incoming spouses and helping others, I was in turn helping myself more than anyone else.

"Because of the Key Spouse program, I have grown in confidence, have developed lasting friendships, and have been given some amazing opportunities that I had never even dreamed of wanting, like standing in front of you right now as the 2015 Team McChord Key Spouse of the year."

McNeal closed her comments with some words of wisdom for new Key Spouses.

"If I could leave you with just one piece of advice in all of this," said McNeal. "It would be make sure that you let your fellow spouses know how special they are to you and how honored they are serving right alongside you."

After the guest speakers talked, each Key Spouse in attendance was called onto stage where they were presented a certificate of appreciation by Team McChord leadership.

To close out the event, Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, provided his remarks.

"It is extremely tough to be a military spouse and even harder to be a Key Spouse," said Kosinski. "This event was the right thing to do to honor you, and hopefully we have set a tradition with this event.

"The Key Spouse program is a very important piece in taking care of our airmen and their families and directly ties back to overall mission success.

"Thank you for everything you do to support Team McChord and our Air Force family."

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