SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Finances are part of the Air Force mission of resiliency
and readiness, says financial expert and military spouse Ellie Kay. That’s why she
visited Sheppard Air Force Base Feb. 10 and 11, 2016 as part of her Heroes at
Home tour to talk to airmen about managing their finances.
A former broker, Kay’s career became targeted toward
military families as she traveled with her husband, an Air Force pilot, and
their five children. After paying off her husband’s $40,000 credit card debt in
two and a half years, Kay began teaching coupon seminars at the Airmen &
Family Readiness Center.
“The quality of life among those that attended went up
because they started practicing what I was preaching,” Kay said. The seminars
also caught the attention of a publisher, leading to several books including Heroes at Home, a financial book geared
toward military families and the namesake of her tour.
“The current Heroes at Home Financial Event started a number
of years ago when a young military spouse read my book, Heroes at Home, and wanted to bring me to Seymour Johnson Air Force
Base to speak to military families there,” Kay said. That young military spouse
was Dee Dee Doherty, wife of Brig. Gen. Patrick Doherty, commander of the 82nd
Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base.
“All of this happened because Dee Dee Doherty had a
vision to help military families in her community and wouldn’t take no for an
answer when her idea was discounted,” Kay added. “She continued to have the
vision of how this program could help the families in her community and she
worked to make it happen.”
The Heroes at Home program provided information given in
an upbeat manner by Kay and financial experts from Experian and USAA and is not
the typical commander’s call or briefing most airmen are used to.
“[Heroes at Home] is more like a USO show merging with a
financial workshop to be able to bring you an actual event,” said Kay. “It’s an
introduction of a new way of teaching financial readiness to a new generation
in a language that they can understand.”
The presentation, which included millennial-friendly
elements such as a Twitter party, also featured door prizes including books by
Kay, gift cards and an iPad.
Airmen learned about buying cars, the significance of credit
scores, and how to save for retirement. Kay talked about the “60 minute money
workout,” a method of financial preparation. She also suggested ways to save
every day using coupons, websites and apps.
According to Kay, financial readiness is key to a successful
Air Force career because monetary problems can become a distraction from the
job, preventing airmen from performing at their best. Additionally, airmen
could lose their security clearance if they are not financially healthy,
leading to a possible separation from the Air Force.
“A strong Air Force means a strong defense and a strong
nation,” said Kay.
The program concluded with an inspirational speech by Kay
which highlighted the importance of the military and their families: our heroes
The Heroes at Home
presentation has been recorded and copies will be available at the Airmen &
Family Readiness Center, which also offers financial counseling services. For
more information, contact the A&FRC at 940-676-4358.