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Heroes at Home event helps airmen manage their finances

Ellie Kay visited Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to talk to Airmen about financial responsibility and money management, Feb. 11, 2016. Kay, along with Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, Ingrid Bruns, director of military life advice and Bethany Grace, director of communications for Heroes at Home, shared their experiences and professional advice for being financially fit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

Ellie Kay visited Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to talk to Airmen about financial responsibility and money management, Feb. 11, 2016. Kay, along with Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, Ingrid Bruns, director of military life advice and Bethany Grace, director of communications for Heroes at Home, shared their experiences and professional advice for being financially fit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

Ellie Kay visited Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to talk to Airmen about financial responsibility and money management, Feb. 11, 2016. Kay, along with Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, Ingrid Bruns, director of military life advice and Bethany Grace, director of communications for Heroes at Home, shared their experiences and professional advice for being financially fit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

Ellie Kay visited Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to talk to Airmen about financial responsibility and money management, Feb. 11, 2016. Kay, along with Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, Ingrid Bruns, director of military life advice and Bethany Grace, director of communications for Heroes at Home, shared their experiences and professional advice for being financially fit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

Ellie Kay visited Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to talk to Airmen about financial responsibility and money management, Feb. 11, 2016. Kay, along with Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, Ingrid Bruns, director of military life advice and Bethany Grace, director of communications for Heroes at Home, shared their experiences and professional advice for being financially fit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

Ellie Kay visited Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, to talk to Airmen about financial responsibility and money management, Feb. 11, 2016. Kay, along with Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, Ingrid Bruns, director of military life advice and Bethany Grace, director of communications for Heroes at Home, shared their experiences and professional advice for being financially fit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

Ellie Kay and Dee Dee Doherty, wife of Brig. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 82nd Training Wing commander, pause for a photo at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 11, 2016. Kay talked to Airmen about financial responsibility and money management along with Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, Ingrid Bruns, director of military life advice and Bethany Grace, director of communications for Heroes at Home, shared their experiences and professional advice for being financially fit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

Ellie Kay and Dee Dee Doherty, wife of Brig. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 82nd Training Wing commander, pause for a photo at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 11, 2016. Kay talked to Airmen about financial responsibility and money management along with Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, Ingrid Bruns, director of military life advice and Bethany Grace, director of communications for Heroes at Home, shared their experiences and professional advice for being financially fit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

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 at home.

 

 

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.