The first Wednesday of every month is set aside for spouses of deployed Airmen to get together at the Desert Dining Inn here for dinner.
The dinner is hosted by the Airman & Family Readiness Center, and is designed to give the spouses a free meal, information on available resources for their specific group, and a chance to meet others in a similar situation.
“This has been around for a really long time,” said Tech. Sgt. Christa Yazzie, 355th Force Support Squadron. “It’s kind of a standard thing throughout the Air Force. All of them are not held at the dining facilities. Sometimes they are home cooked meals or eating out at a restaurant, but it’s just a way to provide them a meal out where they don’t have to cook or pay, and to get out and meet other spouses.”
The dinners are only for deployed families. Service members sign up their families during pre-deployment briefings. This list is used to contact the family members.
Key spouses and volunteers also attend these meals to help family members with a variety of things, from watching kids while they eat food to putting them in contact with support resources.
“I’ve been coming to the Deployed Spouses’ Dinner for about six months now,” said Tanya Atkinson, 612th Air Communications Squadron key spouse. “There was one girl, in particular, that I remember. She didn’t know about any of the events that were happening and was out of the loop about what was going on in her husband’s squadron. I posted on the moms’ group on Facebook about the dinner. She came, and it got her out of the house. She met some other spouses here, and it kind of rejuvenated her.”
Atkinson said she has also introduced family members to the key spouse of their husband or wife’s squadron.
Volunteers also get provide additional aid. They can help family members navigate through the dining facility, find available resources or just be there to talk.
“You just get to be a family member,” said Airman 1st Class Sharla Iseah, 355th Dental Squadron. “The Air Force is my extended family. I just like the fact that I can be there for them, so when my loved one is gone I know they will be there.”
For more information about the Deployed Spouses’ Dinner or to volunteer to help, contact Tech. Sgt. Christa Yazzie at 228-5690.