FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Eielson Air Force Base held its first annual 'Spouse Symposium' to show support for the spouses of military personnel. This program is focused on providing training to military spouses and building support within the community.
"The Air Force does an amazing job of providing resiliency training to our active duty folks like interpersonal problem solving and communication and gratitude, but we forgot about the other half, so right now what we're trying to do is trying to tackle the other half of the equation," said Swearingen.
Kristen Christy, the 2018 Air Force Spouse of the Year, traveled to Eielson to speak to the spouses and share her story. "It's important to have events like this to build a sense of community, there are some people here today that know each other, there are other people that are not connected, and in order for them to feel a part of the Eielson family, they need to have some kind of connection, whether that's one person or with a table full of people," said Christy.
The activities focused on showing connections between each other and seeing similar experiences that each person goes through. Project Officer of the Spouse Symposium, Ryan Swearingen, says military spouses go through unique experiences and struggles, so they want to provide programs to support them through those times.
"I've been on the other side of the story, where I was the one staying home while he was deployed, and it's tough, and it's hard to build those relationships and it's hard to get out of meet new people and show up, and be supportive of each other, so I think it's amazing that our leadership is taking interest in it, and pouring into our spouses," said Swearingen.
Swearingen says marital issues are one of the most common struggles airmen seek help for on base, and they hope teaching resilience skills to both spouses and airmen, will lead to happier marriages, healthy families and a more resilient Air Force. They hope to continue the event into the future and build on their resilience program for spouses.