Support for military families on and off base - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Support for military families on and off base

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For many military families, a new school year may mean a new home and a new school. But Malmstrom Air Force Base and Great Falls Schools are able to support their new students with a school information fair.

Loy Elementary hosted Malmstrom AFB's fifth annual school information fair yesterday, providing parents with an opportunity to register their students and meet principals and local school officials.

“When you’re a military family and you move from place to place, you have to learn the inner workings of a new community, new school system, so when they can come and get those things answered at one given moment, one time, they are very appreciative," Ruth Uecker, Great Falls Public Schools Elementary Assistant Superintendent, said.

The Montana Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children also visited the fair. They spent the morning working on a  draft report to the Montana Legislature on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

If you are a member of the military and you missed yesterday’s fair, Euchre says not to worry. Loy Elementary's secretary's first day is actually today, and you are welcome to go register your child.

Air Force Key Spouse Program

For the spouses and families of Airmen who are deployed, the Key Spouse Program exists to provide extra support. Those who decide to become Key Spouses say it's like getting to pick a second family.

The program works like this: when a husband or wife is deployed, Key Spouses are volunteers who act as a liaison between their family and the Commander. If there is an emergency, they are trained to relay information and help provide resources to those families. They say the it’s especially helpful at a base like Malmstrom, which is made up primarily of Security Forces, who are often away in the field for three to five days at a time.

“It’s definitely helped a lot, especially from transitioning from where home is, and you get stationed here, it’s a completely different world,” Key Spouse Francis Swanger, of Missouri, said.

One women says her husband was deployed five days after they married, and she didn’t even know how to get on base. She’s now paying it forward by providing the same support she got back then.