FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico –
Inspired by the theme, "Your voice is important. We want to hear ideas from you," a group of enthusiastic military spouses gathered at the Army Community Service conference room here on Sept. 20 to participate in the Fort Buchanan Military Spouses Forum.
Wilda Diaz, Army Community Service (ACS) Director, led the forum.
"Our mission is to find ways to enhance our military community's well-being. This semi-formal and open group allows spouses to bring their Service members and children. We share experiences, happiness, challenges, and how to overcome daily life situations as a military family. We ensure that no military spouse is left behind," said Diaz.
Diaz explained that the first forum was held on Sept. 28, 2022, with nine spouses. Now, the group consists of over 40 spouses and continues growing. The participants meet face to face, at different sites, and virtually.
"My intent is to give a voice to all military spouses, regardless of branch or service status. We invite different resources such as Tricare, Financial Advisors, Army and Airforce Exchange Service, United Service Organizations, and others upon request by military spouses," added Diaz.
Col. Charles N. Moulton, Fort Buchanan commander, welcomed the participants, accompanied by Command Sgt. Maj Roderick W. Hendricks.
"Your input is valuable. Brainstorming ideas for programs, events, workshops, and activities is important to strengthen and enhance Military Families' well-being. There is a lot of information out there. But we need to help navigate that. So that's what this forum is about," said Moulton.
Litza Martinez, a member of the 1st Mission Support Command Family Programs and a military spouse, was one of the forum's participants.
"This is a critical group. We have had spouses with problems with Tricare. However, through this forum, the military spouses recommended specific solutions that have mitigated those problems," said Martinez.
According to Martinez, one of the many tangible results of the Fort Buchanan Military Spouses Forum is that the 1st Mission Support Command appointed a Soldier as a point of contact to facilitate and streamline Tricare issues.
"Military spouses in Puerto Rico need this forum because we are dispersed throughout the island, and these meetings help us to know each other and become stronger together. I recommend all military spouses in Puerto Rico to join this group; bring your challenges, and we will assist you as a support group. You are not alone," said Martinez.
If you want to know more about the services ACS has available or about the Fort Buchanan Military Spouses Forum, you can stop by Davis Street, Building #225, Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, or reach Wilda Diaz, ACS Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 787-707-3804/3948.
ACS provides programs that support Soldier, Family, and civilian employee readiness by coordinating and delivering comprehensive and responsive services that promote self-reliance, resiliency, and stability.
As the Department of Army's center of gravity in the region, Fort Buchanan serves a diverse military community comprising approximately 15,000 active duty, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers, Air Force, Marine Corps Reserve, and the Navy's Operational Support Center members.