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NEWS | Jan. 26, 2007

Phoenix Spouse program will give Team Charleston families a squadron link

By Senior Airman Sam Hymas 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Another program the Airman and Family Readiness flight has available for spouses is the Phoenix Spouse program.

The Phoenix Spouse program is a formal unit program that offers informal peer-to-peer support to families. Volunteer spouses within a unit sign up and attend training to become their unit's Phoenix Spouse.

The program is a resource to enhance unit family readiness and operates within the military chain of command. The Phoenix Spouse's point of contact with the unit is the first sergeant.

Jennifer Wendeln, wife of 1st Lt. Billy Wendeln, 437th Mission Support Group executive officer, has signed up to be a Phoenix Spouse and is excited about the new program.
"I think it's a fantastic idea," said Mrs. Wendeln, who also said she wanted to focus on helping families of deployed Airmen and brand new families to the Air Force. "It's something formal out there for spouses who may have a problem. They'll have one person to come to who can help.

One of the main roles of a Phoenix Spouse is as a communicator. The unit commander and first sergeant work with the Phoenix Spouse to get information to unit families and to help families communicate their concerns with unit leadership.

"The program provides Air Force families someone at their level in times of crisis," said Tech. Sgt. Julie Brannan, 437th Mission Support Squadron readiness NCO. "It also provides for rumor control within the squadron."

Phoenix Spouse's are required to attend Heart Link and an annual suicide awareness briefing. They also attend an eight-hour training specific to the Phoenix Spouse program.

Spouses who would like to volunteer to be a Phoenix Spouse can contact Sergeant Brannan at 963-4406.