Military spouses: Mission success relies on them too

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

“Military spouses are very unique and resilient. A military spouse wears many hats and in most scenarios, they are wearing multiple hats at one time to show their support for their family and the military.”

Sharon Brown, Sheppard Enlisted Spouses Club vice president, a military spouse of 15 years, is one of many spouses on Sheppard who ensures military spouses are acknowledged and appreciated for their roles in supporting the military.

“I believe it is important to show spouses that they are appreciated because they do quite a bit of work behind the scenes so that the service members are able to perform their required duties for the military,” Brown said.

Brown also believes that although a spouse may not be a service member, they work with and for the military, aiding in the overall success of the mission.

Kathleen Hedden, 80th Flying Training Wing command chief key spouse, like Brown, believes spouses are a key part of the military.

“I feel that spouses are pretty much the silent heroes at home and they serve our country through their own contributions and sacrifices,” Hedden said.

Sheppard spouses, like Brown and Hedden, ensure the base is supporting other spouses in many ways. Programs like the ESC, Officer’s Spouses Club and the Key Spouse program are just three of those spouse-run, spouse-driven support systems for the military spouses at Sheppard.

“These types of programs help the military spouse to stay informed and socially involved with each other so that there is a support system within the spouse community,” Brown said. “Organizations like us, not only make sure the spouses are recognized and appreciated for their efforts, but also ensure the spouses know what resources the base has to offer them such as the Airman and Family Readiness Center.”

In addition to the support system and network connection to base resources, organizations like ESC put on events for the spouses.

In early May, Brown and Hedden helped to develop a planning committee for the Military Spouse Appreciation Day event that initially included members from the ESC, OSC, and Airman & Familiy Readiness Center. Together, the organizations were able to coordinate many aspects for spouse appreciation, to include manicures, hair and makeup services were provided by Vernon College free of charge. A relaxation room, provided by the Solid Rock Café, included massage chairs and soothing music. The Rising Six organization on Sheppard also provided free child care to allow spouses to enjoy the event.

Many organizations on and off base stepped in to contribute and let spouses know what they mean to the military.

“For the Military Spouse Appreciation event, the committee tried to highlight areas of pampering as well as fostering a social atmosphere for the spouses,” Brown said.

The work of Brown, Hedden and the organizations involved was well-received by the spouses who showed their excitement and appreciation for the efforts through the Military Spouse Appreciation Day’s event Facebook page.

The hard work of the Brown, Hedden and their event committee was also noticed by Dee Dee Doherty, wife of 82nd Training Wing commander Brig. Gen. Patrick Doherty.

“Pat and I are so thankful for spouses, such as Kat and Sharon, who initiate wonderful ideas to connect and support our Sheppard spouses and families,” Mrs. Doherty said. “Their idea combined with hard work, collaboration and donations from local businesses and various base agencies such as A&FRC, OSC, ESC, First Sergeants, 82nd and 80th wing spouses made the day a huge success! We are very grateful for the generous and talented spouses we have here at Sheppard.”

Beyond events like the Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Brown, Hedden and Mrs. Doherty all agree that acknowledging and appreciating military spouses should be an everyday occurrence. They encourage military members to never let those spouses forget how important they are to the mission, the family and the military as a whole.

 “Spouses are an integral part of the strength, stability and success of our military family,” Mrs. Doherty said. “We should always be doing our best to let them know that.”