Matter of the heart

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
With a goal of empowering all Ellsworth spouses by providing information, resources and support on local and national levels, the Heart Link program is preparing for its next class, Sept. 9.

The program is open to all spouses, regardless of rank, and is designed to strengthen military families with an overview of the 28th Bomb Wing mission and programs.

"Heart Link can benefit all spouses," said Laurie Adkins, 28th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness center community resource technician. "This is a great program with a very relaxed atmosphere, which is perfect for getting questions answered, meeting new people and learning about both the base and local area."

Ms. Adkins said Heart Link features a number of informative sections for Ellsworth spouses, such as: a mission briefing from Col. Jeffrey Taliaferro, 28 BW commander, tour of the B-1B Lancer, an overview of military customs and courtesies, a welcome briefing focused on the 28th Medical Group, local conditions and points of interest in the surrounding area and an agency fair attended by several organizations.

"We try to pack as much information as possible into a short amount of time and still allow plenty of opportunities for questions."

Along with providing spouses a useful forum for the distribution of information, the Heart Link program also works to dispel various myths surrounding it.

"I want to point out that not all spouses are female and we strive to make Heart Link gender neutral," said Ms. Adkins.

Another myth which seems to center around Heart Link is the belief that spouses who have children aren't given the opportunity to attend the program.

"To support Heart Link, our squadron commanders are ready to award a one-day pass to Airmen that would stay home and watch the kids, to make it easier for our spouses to attend," said Colonel Taliaferro. "There's no better way for our spouses to find out all the wing has to offer them."

Spouses with "babies in arms" are also welcome to attend the program, said Ms. Adkins.

Reaching out to Ellsworth spouses can sometimes be difficult; however, the feedback surrounding the program has more than justified its need, said Ms. Adkins.

"This is an invaluable resource for any military spouse," said Ms. Adkins, as she read comments received about Heart Link. "Even if I can't benefit from certain information, I may know someone who can. It helps you feel more connected."

With all the positive comments coming from Heart Link, Colonel Taliaferro hopes future classes will grow in attendance.

"There's a reason attendance has more than doubled this past year - feedback from spouses of all ages has been overwhelmingly positive," he said. "Leadership across the entire wing is committed to this program to best reach all our spouses."