Albany, Ga. --
Military spouses here were treated to a special town hall meeting, Sept. 8, at the Lincoln Military Housing community center. What made the town hall special weren’t the topics up for discussion; rather, it was the public figure that was on hand to engage to the military spouses.
Ellyn Dunford was the special guest who interacted with and took note of some issues affecting young military families residing in Albany, Ga.
She is the wife of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, who was also on station touring Marine Corps Logistics Command facilities.
One leg of her visit was meeting with the military spouses at the town hall, while her Marine spouse tended to his business elsewhere at the installation.
“Mrs. Dunford really showed she cares about the military spouse community,” Paula Caserio, director, Marine Corps Family Team Building, said. “She heard from a number of our military spouses, some of whom whose husbands are currently deployed overseas.”
Dunford started out by asking spouses to share the positives of the installation before opening the floor to listen to some of the issues that were of concern. Some of the issues discussed during the hour-long town hall ranged from school districting and limited food sources, to limited shopping in the area and the lack of a spouse’s Facebook site.
“The feedback was positive overall from our military spouses,” Caserio said. “There were a few concerns that were mentioned, but overall it was great to hear the military families (voice appreciation of) the activities and events being offered on the installation.”
More than three dozen military spouses attended the event, a turnout that was called “phenomenal” by Richard Walker, district manager, Lincoln Housing.
“To have that many families show they care about what happens in Albany is very significant,” Walker said.
During the town hall, Dunford shared a personal story of her own about being a Marine’s spouse.
She said at one point when she and her husband transitioned from Washington, D.C., to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, they were faced with a reduction in income, shopping challenges and limited opportunities due to their new remote-like location. Being an avid shopper, she said there were times she would make an all-day Saturday trip all the way back to the D.C./Maryland area to do “extensive shopping” and return back to the Carolinas later the same day.
Kia Sloan, spouse of a Marine gunnery sergeant, offered several positive comments about Dunford’s town hall.
“This was a great experience for military spouses to share stories and interact with the assistant commandant’s wife,” Sloan said. “Mrs. Dunford is a seasoned spouse that has a deep passion for the Marine Corps, families and giving back to those who serve.
“She understands life as a spouse,” Sloan continued. “It also provided an opportunity for military spouses to share their thoughts and feelings about life in Albany, Georgia.”
While Dunford was on a tight schedule, she expressed a desire to hear all of the issues the installation’s military spouses may have. Prior to her departure, she asked spouses to leave any additional comments they were unable to voice with the Lincoln Housing district manager.