AFRC, here to help spouses integrate

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jaeda Tookes
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
It’s no secret that the military can ask a lot from service members as well as their families.

It is not uncommon for a military family to experience a permanent change of station, a temporary duty assignment or even a deployment during an Airman’s time in service.

Airmen are trained and equipped with the proper resources to handle what can be a stressful life change for some, but what about their spouses? Their children?

This is where the Airman and Family Readiness Center comes in to play.

“(Here at the Airman and Family Readiness Center) our mission is to be available for the needs of the service member, but in doing so also we have the greater mission of supporting their loved ones,” said Shawn Belk, AFRC work and life specialist.

According to Belk, the AFRC is available and ready to welcome newcomers, provide information and be an all-around resource to service members and spouses.

The AFRC welcomes both new spouses to the base as well as spouses who are already at Malmstrom. The length of time on station does not contribute to whether or not an individual can receive a helping hand from Malmstrom’s supporting agencies.

“We offer employment assistance, resume writing, life consultations and budgeting assistance to name a few,” Belk said. “We want to help those who are new to the (military), and remain a constant in the lives of our community.”

For Vanessa Tramill, a California native and military spouse, the toughest challenge she faced in becoming a new military spouse was leaving her family and friends back home.

“When we first moved here, I was a little scared of what to expect,” she said. “This was the first time I had ever been this far away from my family, but I was excited to start the next chapter with my husband.”

The AFRC, as well as other helping agencies on base, are familiar with the struggles newcomers to the military lifestyle can have. At the AFRC, there are several individuals who are specifically trained in multiple areas of expertise to help families deal with the sudden change and to act as a support system for the spouses who may be separated from their active-duty member due to duty requirements.

According to Belk, the best advice he thinks spouses need to hear is to get involved early and often in different things going on around base.

“I have gotten out, made friends and experienced things I would have never experienced if I were still in California,” Tramill said. “My husband’s co-workers have been really helpful and supportive as well.”

Reaching out, providing avenues and employing the right people in the right places to guide and mentor newcomers and their families is a priority for Malmstrom. With the help of the AFRC, the wing is able to uphold the home front mission as well as the nuclear enterprise mission.

For more ways to get involved or to stay abreast with daily Malmstrom activities and groups, visit the Malmstrom Air Force Base Facebook page, visit the AFRC in Building 800 or call 731-4900.