Military spouses, no matter what their significant other’s rank, are looking for the same things — friendship, support and a way to give back to their community.

This begins a new chapter for the Association for Bragg Spouses, which recently opened its membership to all spouses living in the Fort Bragg area.

“It’s time,” said Irene Summerfield, Association of Bragg Spouses president and wife of Capt. Randy Summerfield, U.S. Forces Command. “You don’t see rank when you’re shedding tears together. They’re the ones you lean on, you cry on. You don’t see ‘Oh you’re only a specialist’s wife,’ you see someone who feels the same pain as you do. I think the majority of military spouses feel that way. It’s time for that change,” she said.

“I think it’s great that we have officers and enlisted spouses to join forces to make it one great big organization instead of having two organizations covering Families here. What better way to start it off right than to do all spouses?” said Lisa Kotson, wife of Sgt. Maj. Theodore Kotson, currently teaching at the Sergeant Major’s Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Kotson is also the event coordinator for the Fort Bragg Armed Services YMCA, one of the more than 30 vendors appearing at the ABS’s Super Sign-Up, Sept. 5, held at the new Family Readiness Center at Pope Field.

As of noon, 100 spouses had already signed up for membership, said Nancy Colt, wife of Maj. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg deputy commanding general. Colt is the advisor for the association.

Membership in the association offers spouses a chance to make an impact on their community, said Summerfield.

“We are very much ‘service first, friends always.’ We always want to help those around us. I also think it gives them the chance to meet new people,” she added.

“When people ask me about the membership fee, I tell them every bit of that goes back to the scholarship and welfare (programs) which we distributed over $26,000 last year.

With increased membership, you’re able to give more back to the community,” said Colt.

This year also marks the more than 50 years of service Fort Bragg spouses have dedicated to military Families.

“We wanted to do something to commemorate that so we decided to do a cookbook. (We can) have everyone’s recipes so everyone can look back on the cookbook and say ‘That’s the year we went to an all spouses club,’” said Irene.

To find out more about the ABS and how to join, visit www.FortBraggABS.org.