Phoenix Spouse takes care of Airmen, families

  • Published
  • By Tyler Hemstreet
  • Staff writer
It's not like Elaine McPherson doesn't have enough on her plate.

A mother of five with a husband who is a member of the 62nd Security Forces Squadron, Mrs. McPherson has a lot going on between family commitments and keeping the household together when her husband is flying or deployed.

But she makes time nevertheless to fulfill her duty as a Phoenix Spouse for the 62nd SFS.

"If (Phoenix Spouses) didn't want to do it, we wouldn't do it," Mrs. McPherson said of the voluntary position. "We're there because we want to be."

And she has jumped in with both feet in her effort to serve the 62nd SFS's spouses. Her efforts include producing a monthly unit newsletter with information about activities on and off base, manning the spouses table at newcomer's briefings and developing a unique unit spouse support program.

The "Heartbeats from Home" program provides a personalized deployment bag for spouses, given to them when their significant other deploys. The bag contains handmade cards, chocolates, a journal and other small gifts.

"It shows them that someone else cares about their well-being because being left behind is a big deal," Mrs. McPherson said.

The program is made possible through collaboration between the 62nd SFS Phoenix Spouses and Mrs. McPherson's hometown church in Richmond, Va. The church donates time and money to the program.

"The (congregation) has been very generous," she said.

The Phoenix Spouse program and the work that Mrs. McPherson has done to enhance the role Phoenix Spouses play in the 62nd SFS has not gone unnoticed.

"It's good for the spouses to know someone like her," said Master Sgt. Bill Baker, 62nd SFS first sergeant. "When they have a problem with anything, she's an option for spouses beyond calling the supervisor of the deployed Airman. Mrs. McPherson is someone who's connected and knows who to talk to."

"That's a role that Mrs. McPherson embraces," Sergeant Baker said. "She's a first sergeant for spouses."

Base wide, there are nearly 70 active Phoenix Spouses. The key to the program's success is opening lines of communication and getting the word out, Mrs. McPherson said.

"The more the program is pushed out there, the more it will help," she said. "Communication is key. The whole point is to be involved."