The key to success

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca Imwalle
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
There is a special group of military spouses around Ellsworth whose primary goal is to engage, support and encourage other spouses that might be new to the military lifestyle.

The Key Spouse Program is an official Air Force program designed to enhance readiness and establish a sense of Air Force community, promoting partnerships with unit leadership, Key Spouses, families and base and community agencies. 

Laurie Adkins, 28th Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant, provides initial training for all new key spouses joining the team.

"The program is important for making connections," Adkins said. "It provides support for the families, and for servicemembers, it makes their job a little easier knowing their family is being supported."

During initial training, spouses learn about a various aspects to the Key Spouse program, including how to locate and take advantage of useful resources.

Michelle Haleck, spouse of Capt. Makisi Haleck, 28th Operations Support Squadron wing weapons officer, has been a member of the program at Ellsworth since 2010.

"Our goals are to inform, engage our spouses, support and encourage them," Haleck said, "We also want to help build their knowledge and strength, because in return that strengthens their families, which strengthens our Air Force as a whole."

Key spouses hold different functions which can range from community service events to small outings. Later this month, the 28th OSS key spouses are holding a primping party for the Black Hills Military Appreciation Ball in November, where they will learn different techniques for make-up and hairstyles.

"It's important for spouses to be able to have some time away and take care of themselves," Haleck explained. "We always make sure everyone is invited to these events."

All military spouses are welcome to these events, whether the military member is deployed or at home.

"The support that we get from leadership is great here," Adkins emphasized. "They do a town hall for key spouses twice a year, in which all commanders, first sergeants and key spouses are invited to come and have a forum with the commander to discuss the program."

More than 100 key spouses are around the base, helping military families feel connected across Ellsworth.

"It's easy to feel alone in a group of people," Haleck said. "When something's new to you, it helps to have someone that's gone through it before to be there to empower you to do that and help you feel well-connected and appreciated. You don't always feel like that when you're taking care of everything on your own."

For more information about the Key Spouse Program, contact Laurie Adkins at (605) 385-5599 or visit their website at