Heartlink Spouse Orientation: Empowers spouses through integration
By Senior Airman Cody Dowell, Altus Air Force Base Public Affairs
/ Published November 08, 2018
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.