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NEWS | Jan. 26, 2011

Military spouses connect at JB CHS

By Airman Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

It's the middle of the afternoon, the kids are in school, the house is spotless and dad is busy at work.

For most moms, this sounds like another mundane day at home, but for moms involved in the Joint Base Charleston Military Moms Club, it's an opportunity to go out with another military mom, chat, and drink coffee.

Military spouses lead a much different life than their civilian counterparts. There are rules and regulations in the military that are difficult to understand for many spouses new to the military lifestyle.

"It's easy to feel alone and disconnected, especially when your husband has to leave home and deploy," said Brandi Varnes, JB CHS Military Moms president.

JB CHS offers many opportunities for spouses to feel connected even through the toughest times.

Connecting is one of the five actions in Comprehensive Airman Fitness and here at JB CHS it's not just for Airmen, but for the whole team.

Military Moms is designed to bring any mom married to a service member together with other moms in the same situation, Mrs. Varnes said.

"The group was created to bring military mothers closer to one another and to keep them involved and interactive," she said. "We want our group to be a home away from home. When a husband or wife is deployed, we do anything we can to help the children and spouse cope with their loved ones absence."

The club has approximately 154 members with children ranging from newborns to teens, and their numbers continue to grow, Mrs. Varnes said.

"Any military mom is welcome," she said. "It doesn't matter if your spouse is Air Force, Navy, active duty, or Reserve. We also accept military dads."

Military Moms is involved in daily events such as moms night-out and moms night in, Mrs. Varnes said.

"We celebrate events like baby showers and birthdays for children," she said. "Most military children don't get to spend their birthdays back home with their grandparents, but they get to spend it with their military mom's family."

If a military spouse wants to connect with other spouses, but doesn't have children, Team Charleston Spouse Club is available to those who aren't parents.

"TCSC was created to bring military spouses together for charitable, educational and social purposes and is open to all pay grades," said Roze Sharp, TCSC president. "We want to make sure our family members on the home front are involved around base and aware of what's going on. "If you are married to someone in the military, you have something in common with the other spouses. We have 11 mini-clubs that get together weekly for activities ranging from sewing classes to movie night outs."
Sixty spouses from the Air Base and Weapons Station make up TCSC, but there is room for growth. Every month TCSC holds a social event where new spouses are welcomed to attend, Mrs. Sharp said.

Both groups can help any spouse get information or socialize, but there is another program that was created to help - the Key Spouse program.

"The Key Spouse program is a support system that encourages peer-to-peer support by meeting the vital needs of spouses and providing them with an information network," said Master Sgt. Ricky Smith, 628th Force Support Squadron Readiness noncommissioned officer in charge.

Every unit has at least one key spouse, who are specially trained volunteers that promote individual, family and unit readiness.

"The Key Spouse program was designed for deployment support, but it also connects spouses and brings them closer together," Sergeant Smith said. "A spouse is more likely to reach out to a fellow spouse. They provided other spouses with information about resources both on and off base. These programs mean nothing without spouse involvement. Go out there and get connected."

If you are military spouse looking to connect, check out -
Joint Base Charleston Military Moms Club:
Team Charleston Spouse Club:
Key Spouse program: Contact your squadron's first sergeant for more information
(This is the seventh story on a nine-part series on Comprehensive Airman Fitness.)