HomeNewsArticle Display

Heartlink Spouse Orientation: Empowers spouses through integration

Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay II, 97th Air Mobility Wing command chief, welcomes new military spouses during the Heartlink Spouse Orientation program.

Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay II, 97th Air Mobility Wing command chief, welcomes new military spouses during the Heartlink Spouse Orientation program, Nov. 2, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Put together by the Airmen and Family Readiness Center, the Heartlink program is for all spouses of base employees, military and civilian to get to know the base, community and each other better. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Military spouses from the 97th Air Mobility Wing put on harnesses to board a cherry picker lift during the Heartlink Spouse Orientation,

Military spouses from the 97th Air Mobility Wing put on harnesses to board a cherry picker lift during the Heartlink Spouse Orientation, Nov. 2, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Part of the this Heartlink orientation was visit to the aerospace ground equipment facility which uses electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic and other equipment in order to maintain and repair aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Spouses of members of the 97th Air Mobility Wing look around while on a cherry picker lift during the Heartlink Spouse Orientation

Spouses of members of the 97th Air Mobility Wing look around while on a cherry picker lift during the Heartlink Spouse Orientation, Nov. 2, 2018, at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Part of this orientation was a visit to the aerospace ground equipment facility, which houses the specific model of lift used for the KC-46 Pegasus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christie Kidder, Airman and Family Readiness Center NCO in Charge assigned to the 97th Force Support Squadron,

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christie Kidder, Airman and Family Readiness Center NCO in Charge assigned to the 97th Force Support Squadron, speaks about different locations in the Altus community, Nov. 2, 2018, in Altus, Okla. The Heartlink Spouse Orientation showcases the base and local community to spouses of the 97th Air Mobility Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

Military spouses from the 97th Air Mobility Wing and members of the 97th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center pose in front of a static B-47 Stratojet display during the Heartlink Spouse Orientation

Military spouses from the 97th Air Mobility Wing and members of the 97th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center pose in front of a static B-47 Stratojet display during the Heartlink Spouse Orientation, Nov. 2, 2018, at Altus, Okla. One of the last stops of the Heartlink orientation was to locations in the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody Dowell)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Whether it is a military member’s first, next or last duty station, traveling to a new location is almost inevitable in a military career. Having to start over is difficult for the whole family, requiring them to learn about a new base’s mission, location and people. In order to ease the process of base familiarization, Altus AFB hosts a Heartlink Spouse Orientation program.

The Heartlink program is run by the Airmen and Family Readiness Center in support of spouses of base employees both military and civilian. The program allows spouses to get to know the base, community and each other better. Heartlink is held quarterly with the goal to make spouses feel more welcome and familiar with their new location.

“The more spouses know about their location, the more they can help to be an integral part of the family,” said Jessica Volkman, community readiness consultant assigned to the 97th Force Support Squadron. “When they know how their spouse’s career fits into the mission, it makes them understand their role of being a military spouse. If a spouse has the resources, knowledge and abilities to handle military life, the whole family becomes stronger.”

The program gives spouses an opportunity to tour the base and community while learning what resources each can provide.

“At its basics, Heartlink is a program of orienting information that spouses should know, but we have made it more than that,” said Volkman. “Getting members out and actually seeing the base and community as well as what they provide is invaluable information that most people wouldn’t figure out by themselves.”

Not every Heartlink event is the same. A&FRC visits a different section of the base each quarter.

“Visiting a new section gives a new perspective of the base’s mission to the spouses each time we do Heartlink,” said Volkman. “Unless they need assistance or their spouse works at a certain facility, they would never get to see what goes on around the base.”

Since the moving process can be a tough adjustment for some families, having a better understating of the location and resources here is invaluable information.

“I’ve been at Altus for over a year now,” said Sami Chase, spouse of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Austin Chase, an emergency management journeyman assigned to the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron. “Besides my husband’s shop, everything else was pretty much new to me and was a great change of scenery. I think that this will really help new spouses learn that there is more to do in Altus than they assume. I appreciate everything the A&FRC has done for us because without them this program wouldn’t exist.”

The Airman and Family Readiness Center is always ready to help support military members and their families. If you are a spouse who is interested in learning more about the base and meeting other spouses, contact A&FRC at 580-481-6761.