AETC officials announce 2016 Key Spouse of the Year

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas -- Officials at Air Education and Training Command recently announced Jessica Duff, spouse of Maj. Aaron Duff, as AETC’s 2016 Key Spouse of the Year.

Duff was selected as a key spouse in 2013 for the 47th Student Squadron at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas and again in 2015 for the 559th Flying Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio – Randolph. Duff served as a key spouse during 2016 and acted as the liaison between the commander and the 559th FTS families. Her role was to build relationships with Air Force families and the local community.

“When we moved to Randolph, I was so excited to have been asked by the commander’s wife to be a key spouse again,” Duff said. “I have fallen in love with this program and the resources we are able to pass along to the other spouses and families in our squadron. The Air Force has become my family, and being able to help other spouses and their families improve their quality of life is my goal.”

As the 559th FTS key spouse, Duff devoted more than 550 hours of service and ensured the success of about 100 spouse networking events, including deployed spouse assistance, spouse mentorship, networking socials, fundraisers, member tracking and charity events. She also became a mentor for 90 pilot instructor training student spouses.

“Jessica was the best key spouse a commander could hope to have in a squadron,” Lt. Col. Jeremy Seals, former commander of the 559th FTS said. “I was thrilled to see her win this award for AETC. She’s earned it!”

To Duff, the Key Spouse Program is an invaluable resource to Air Force families and communities.

“I am a conduit for information and communication,” Duff said. “Early on in my husband’s career, I felt like there was a disconnect between the service members and the families, and I felt there wasn’t an active communication line. Being a part of this program is a way that I can make sure the communication between what the commander wants the spouses and families to know is an active one.”

“Receiving this award is a huge honor and I’m grateful, but my main goal is to encourage others to serve their communities, be more involved in their squadrons and help others,” Duff said. “A commander’s spouse that I knew a long time ago once said, ‘There are different points in your Air Force life where you can serve and be served.’ This is my opportunity to serve and I feel so blessed by the people around me that I feel driven to give back.”

Echoing her sentiment to serve, Maj. Duff said, “Jessica has never sought recognition for her key spouse work - However, I and many others who have watched the immense amount of time, energy and personal resources she has put into the squadron are glad to see her be recognized. This award will offer Jessica another opportunity to promote the hard work of so many Air Force spouses and hopefully inspire more spouses to become involved to make our Air Force family that much better.”

The Key Spouse Program is a commander-driven program designed to provide a sense of unity within the Air Force community and strengthen families that serve by providing essential tools and resources. Key spouse volunteers are recruited and appointed by the commander.

“I would encourage people that if they ever have this opportunity, it’s such a blessing to yourself,” Duff said. “If you give your time, you’ll get back tenfold what you’ve given.”

For more information on the Air Force Key Spouse program, visit the AFPC Key Spouse page at http://www.afpc.af.mil/Key-Spouse-Program/