JBLM opens Heritage Room Honoring Military Spouses

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Colleen Anthony
  • 62d Airlift Wing

The Team McChord community gathered March 1, 2024, to celebrate the grand opening of the McChord Heritage Room in Honor of Military Spouses at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This spouses space, pays homage to Joan Brown, the wife of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Donald Brown, former Wing Commander at the 62d Airlift Wing from 1977 to 1979.

Brown, dedicated herself to volunteerism both on and off McChord Air Force Base during her husband's service. While at McChord, Brown took the initiative to engage in volunteer work, contributing immensely to the community by actively participating in various wing events and working at the base thrift shop. Her impact extended beyond McChord, creating positive change wherever the Brown family lived.

“I was elated when I first heard about the efforts to create a space on base to grow connections among military spouses, and even more so when I heard it was about to open, said Brown.

The newly dedicated, heritage room was created in honor of Brown, and recognizes her tireless commitment to service while seeking to inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

“It is often said that it’s the service members who take the oath, but the spouses who serve,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Sergio Anaya, 62d Airlift Wing commander. “Hopefully this space will open up an opportunity to support them through the many challenges they face.”

The ceremony highlighted Brown's freelance writing career, where she authored 200 articles cited in national magazines and publications, and two books. One of these books chronicles the challenges she faced as a military spouse who endured 21 Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves while raising children.

“My hat is off to the team that came together with the time and the resources to truly show that our spouses are a priority, said Col. Brandon Sokora, 627th Air Base Group commander. “So often we say something is a priority but the resources don’t back that up, this is a victory that is focused on taking care of not only our spouses but our families.”

The McChord Heritage Room, is a place of comfort, inspiration, and connection for spouses and service members who served, and continue to serve as the backbone of Team McChord. This project, made possible through spouse efforts and community collaboration, stands as a lasting tribute to the indelible mark Brown left on McChord and beyond.

“Connecting with other spouses was what helped me to cope, but that didn’t fully happen until we transferred to a base where I was welcomed and supported by such a network, and with that support came connection and I realized that I had joined a family, said Brown. “I went on to enjoy 32 years, and learn that the companionship of my fellow spouses was just as life changing as marrying into the military in the first place.”