John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School spouses attended an evening of desserts, networking and connecting at the Pope Family Readiness Group Center hosted by the Orient, Navigate, Employ, Train, Educate, Advise and Mentor Program, Sept. 13.
“We may not be here long. My thing is we can’t waste time. I am an instant best friend. We know that spouses will deploy … enrich the time that you have while they are gone and get more out of it than you would if you were alone,” said Suzanne Tovo, a Fort Bragg Family member and O.N.E. T.E.A.M. volunteer.
Spouses from every stage of the pipeline, or training process, attended the O.N.E. T.E.A.M. Mentorship in Action event, but many of them shared the same goal.
“Three words why I came: for knowledge, friendship and confidence for going into the unknown, because you need all of those for the unknown,” said Holly Hodgson, a Fort Bragg Family member whose husband has just begun his Special Operations Forces training. “I hope this event is going to provide me with more answers so I don’t feel so alone. It’s easy to feel not in the loop or lost in the acronyms,” she said.
Attendees signed in at the registration desk and were provided with star stickers.
The stars were placed on their hometown on a large map in the event room.
“We are going to talk about where you are from, highlight the importance that we come from all over this great nation, and why we are all here, which is our Soldiers, or SOF Soldiers … and making those connections … this journey is a whole lot easier if you have a friend in your corner and tonight we are hoping that they make that friend,” said Angela Abernathy, a Fort Bragg Family member and O.N.E. T.E.A.M. volunteer.
The room split by geographic region, one corner for east of the Mississippi and another for west, a corner for those spouses from other countries and a corner for military brats.
“(It is) all fun and about making connections. Get them talking about easy things, silly things and then harder deeper things that have to do with mentorship,” said Tovo.
After time to talk with their geographic brethren, spouses were organized into two, concentric circles in the center of the room. SOF mentor spouses, Tovo and Abernathy, instructed spouses to move varying numbers of spaces to the left and the right and then stop and discuss a variety of assigned topics with the spouse in front of them.
“One thing that we are doing tonight, we’re creating those connections … so that you are not alone, so that you have a mentor in your life or you’re a mentor to somebody,” said Abernathy.