KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Being a military spouse of an Air Force reservist can be rewarding, but it also has its challenges such as solo-parenting due to deployments or military service.
This is something Megan Rubio knows a lot about as a military spouse and mother.
Her husband, 403rd Wing Commander Col. Stuart M. Rubio, served as an active duty C-130J pilot for 20 years before transitioning to the Air Force Reserve.
Mrs. Rubio uses her vast experience to assist other military spouses and family members with some of the trials that come with military service, especially for Reserve family members who live all over the country. She volunteers as a Key Spouse Mentor with the 403rd Wing Key Spouse Program, and assists the wing with keeping leadership, spouses and families connected.
She is currently one of 13 Key Spouses and the wing is looking for volunteers who would like to be part of the program.
“The KSP is a vital Air Force and Air Force Reserve readiness and resiliency program designed to meet the needs of Airmen and their families,” said Mrs. Rubio, who added that it is a commander program that promotes partnerships with unit leadership, Key Spouses, families, the Airman and Family Readiness Center and helping agencies.
“Key Spouses are a very valuable resource who open the lines of communication between leadership, A&FRC, and Airmen and families,” said Col. Rubio. “Creating awareness of this program and assisting Key Spouses with building these relationships is vital to creating that sense of community where families are willing to reach out for assistance, especially during a deployment when families may need the most support.”
In addition to preparing and supporting families throughout all phases of the deployment cycle, Key Spouses also provide a link to leadership, identify and resolve issues at the lowest levels, and create awareness of installation and community resources.
While key spouses help build resilient Airmen and families, they are not a social club that conducts fundraisers, plans parties, babysits, provides transportation, nor are they subject matter experts or counselors, said Mrs. Rubio.
“We will, however, provide contacts for resources to assist those families as needed,” she said.
Serving as a Key Spouse isn’t just limited to spouses. A parent, sibling, or community volunteer can hold the position as long as they meet the criteria and training requirements.
“Anyone who is highly motivated, has a positive attitude, is able to communicate and listen, is organized, trustworthy and friendly would be a great candidate,” said Ms. Rubio.
Squadron commanders select the Key Spouse for their organization. Once appointed, Key Spouses will schedule their initial training through the A&FRC, some of which can be done online. After the training, Key Spouses will then meet with unit leaders to determine goals and objectives for their program.
Mrs. Rubio encourages reservists to talk to their family members about the Key Spouse Program, but not just about volunteering, but to make sure families have access to information and resources that are available to them.
For more information about the Key Spouse Program, contact Patricia Jackson, A&FRC, at 376-8253.