Costumes, laughter and bright decorations set the tone for an entertaining night at the first spouses dining-in Feb. 22 at Club Five Six.
The event featured the theme of “A Night at the Movies.” Each squadron chose a movie to represent. Before the event took place each team was given two hours to decorate their tables symbolizing that movie and their squadron. “Chicago,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Grease,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Police Academy,” “Dodgeball,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Sister Act” were just a few of the movies chosen for the night. The head table’s movie selection was not announced until the event night, which was the movie “Hairspray.”
“We chose ‘Hairspray’ as the theme for the head table not only because it has a lot of energy and great music and dancing, but it also has some great messages,” said Jennifer Rothstein, wife of Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander.
The dining-in is a tradition for military members to enhance overall morale and esprit de corps among squadrons or units. It also provides leadership with an opportunity to meet socially with their subordinates and enables members of all stature to create bonds through an atmosphere of good fellowship. The spouses dining-in gives the spouses the same opportunity with each other.
“Events like these are important because they bring a unit together during the planning phase,” Rothstein said. “That fosters a sense of community vital to the military way of life. It is even more important at installations like Luke Air Force Base where families live all over and may not spend much time with their active-duty spouse’s work unit.”
The dining-in is more than just a social hour. It is a chance to celebrate the diversity that exists within the network of military spouses, she said.
“We all come from different places around the country and different backgrounds,” Rothstein said. “Our value is defined by character and who we are as people, by what we contribute to our families and our community. So we came together as military spouses to celebrate this awesome military community and the terrific people we have in it.”
A long-standing tradition that serves to create memories as these spouses get to know each other is known as the grog bowl. The contents of the bowl are left to the imagination of those on the committee and those who contribute to the grog. This particular grog contained food items such as cheerios, goldfish crackers and miniature marshmallows along with a huge variety of beverages.
There are special rules that everyone must abide by throughout the night. If those rules are broken or if any one individual or squadron is acting in a way unbecoming of the rules they are sent to drink from the grog bowl as “punishment.”
The night kicked off with skits involving the head of each table and included dancing. After a series of toasts each squadron was given an opportunity to offer a speech and an item to add to the grog. Dinnertime included trips to the grog bowl and was followed by the guest speaker.
Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord and her daughter Kimberly Lord Stewart spoke about their experiences living with and being married to military members. They expressed both the challenges and benefits of being married to a service member.
“Life is what you make of it,” Georgia Lord said. “There is a reason they call it the service. We are all here to serve one another.”
Rothstein concluded the night by explaining the reasons why the movie “Hairspray” was chosen as the theme.
“Ordinary people can do some very special things when they put their minds to it and work together,” Rothstein said. “They can make real, positive impacts on their community. I challenge you to step up and do something special.
“And don’t forget, you are doing something special. Tonight we celebrate not only our connection to each other, but also the service and sacrifice we give so our military spouses can keep our nation safe and secure.”