Heartlink: Connecting spouses to resources

  • Published
  • By Ms. Melissa Harvey
  • 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

“I’ve been an Air Force spouse for 10 years and I figured there is always something to learn, that’s why I wanted to join today.”

Ms. Jessica Gauthier, a key spouse for the 355th Fighter Squadron, had never attended a Heartlink event, but when she did she was able to learn new things about issues that affect her family.

“Just the little things that can help us, especially when it comes to Tricare,” she said. “They are always changing regulations and the rules are always changing. We have a sick child, so we take advantage of Tricare a lot. So just knowing the ins and outs is helpful, just little information and contacts in case we ever need it.”

This was the first time the 301st Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted a Heartlink event. It was held Feb. 15, 2018 at the Lone Star Center on base.

Mr. Scott Palomino, director of the center, planned the event for spouses of the 355 FS, the wing’s active associate.

The goal of Heartlink is to educate first-term Air Force spouses and those assigned to remote locations about Air Force life, etiquette, protocol, medical benefits, local and base events, services, and resources, he said.

Spouses received this information via presentations and interactive activities throughout the day.

“This is awesome, this is amazing information and fun,” said Ms. Mary Boe, who has been stationed here for five years with her husband. “I thought it was going to be just like sit there and take notes and do nothing. This has been super interactive and I really enjoy not only getting to know the rest of the spouses here, but getting to interact with the representatives from the companies and organizations and getting personal questions asked is amazing.”

Boe, whose favorite presentations were from the Red Cross and Tricare, recommends attending the event.

“I really like it,” she said. “I think it will be really nice for people who this is their first or second duty station. [For] brand new spouses into the military, I think this would be a really great thing. I knew quite a bit of this before, but I did not know all the details. My notes are off the charts, there is so much information to help people, this is amazing.”

The next opportunity for active duty spouses to attend a Heartlink event here is February 2019.

“I 100% believe all of the information, resources, and services provided by all the representatives (Tricare, American Red Cross, Child Development Center, NAS School Liaison Officer, Child and Youth Services, first sergeants, and commanders) is very important to help establish and maintain a healthy Air Force life as a military spouse [and/or] parent,” Palomino said.

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