Grissom Key Spouses recognized for service to families

  • Published
  • By By Master Sgt. Ben Mota
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Serving the families of those who serve, the 434th Air Refueling Wing’s Key Spouse program consists of 26 volunteer spouses.

During a volunteer appreciation event at Grissom, May 4, 2019, those volunteers were recognized for their selfless service and their commitment to helping families of deployed service members.

With the ongoing war against terrorism, it’s not uncommon for service members to deploy leaving a void for families during their absence. Helping to bridge that void, Key Spouses provide information and resources to those military families.

“The Key Spouse program has demonstrated success in strengthening the Grissom family while building a sense of belonging, resiliency, and communication,” said Kris Shaw, 434th ARW Key Spouse mentor. “Our team strengthens peer-to-peer wingman support and is vital to building a strong Air Force family.”

Attending the ceremony, Col. Larry Shaw, 434th ARW commander, recognized volunteers for their selfless service and thanked them for their commitment to the program.

“I say this from the bottom of my heart, we couldn’t do what we do without the support of this program,” he said. “I constantly tell people that Grissom is special; we don’t come here for the beaches or the mountains; we come here because of the people.

“Each of you are part of what makes that statement true,” he added.

Unlike active duty bases whose Airmen and families live on base or near base, Grissom reservists come from more than 35 states, which can make receiving support and resources a challenge. The KSP enhances mission and personal readiness by providing an avenue for two-way communication between unit leadership and families.

“When a service member is deployed, it’s easy for communication between leadership and family to be disrupted because families often live away from the base,” explained Colonel Shaw. “Our key spouses have been instrumental at providing information to the family members and ensuring that they are taken care of during their loved ones absence.”

Following recognition of volunteers, Colonel Shaw and leadership from across the base presented awards to two Key Spouses Deborah Austin and Rachel Grasmick, who went above and beyond during 2017 and 2018.

While Austin won the Key Spouse of the year award for 2017, Grasmick’s who donated more than 250 hours received the award for 2018.

Grasmick has volunteered for the program for more than two years and supported more than 151 new Airmen and families by calling all newcomers. She has personally reached out to all newcomers welcoming them and their families to Grissom.

“These two ladies have gone above and beyond supporting the Airmen here at Grissom,” said Colonel Shaw prior to presenting them with an award shaped as a key. “Thank you for everything all of you have done to make the Key Spouse program as successful as it is today.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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