Spa Night helps relax those with deployed spouses

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Seven months pregnant Mary Cuevas covers her marshmallow in sweet chocolate during the Airman and Family Readiness Center’s spa night Feb. 10.  Mrs. Cuevas ensures her husband, who has been deployed since August, doesn’t miss out on the experience of their pregnancy by sending lots of videos and pictures.  (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Courtney Kippenberger)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Seven months pregnant Mary Cuevas covers her marshmallow in sweet chocolate during the Airman and Family Readiness Center’s spa night Feb. 10. Mrs. Cuevas ensures her husband, who has been deployed since August, doesn’t miss out on the experience of their pregnancy by sending lots of videos and pictures. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Courtney Kippenberger)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Maria Seighman enjoys a well-deserved foot massage during the Airman and Family Readiness Center’s spa night Feb. 10.  Mrs. Seighman’s husband left in January for his second year-long tour in Iraq.  The spa night was designed to help the spouses of deployed members unwind and relax.  (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Courtney Kippenberger)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Maria Seighman enjoys a well-deserved foot massage during the Airman and Family Readiness Center’s spa night Feb. 10. Mrs. Seighman’s husband left in January for his second year-long tour in Iraq. The spa night was designed to help the spouses of deployed members unwind and relax. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Courtney Kippenberger)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Wanting to alleviate the stress that comes with having a deployed spouse, the Airman and Family Readiness Center stepped up to host their first spa night Feb. 10.

The spa night, which has been dubbed the signature event by AFRC, was designed to help the spouses of the deployed members relax and unwind, said Tech. Sgt. Walter Anderson, 47th Mission Support Squadron.

"I was so excited when I received the invitation in the mail," said Sarah Ruester, whose husband, Airman Scottie Ruester, will be returning to Laughlin at end of July.

"My husband and I got married last June, and this is the first time he has been gone. When I told him I was invited, he kept telling me how much I deserved it," she said.

Ready for a calming night, 16 spouses showed up at Su Casa for the event.

From the beginning, the spouses were treated like royalty as they were greeted by Ginny Thrasher, 9, daughter of Col. Roger Thrasher, who handed each spouse a pink pair of slippers and a soothing neck-wrap as they waited for their treatments.

"I am just here to help," Ginny said. "It makes me feel good to help others."

Ginny was just one of more than 25 volunteers who showed up to help make the deployed spouses' night special.

Volunteering their salon services were local downtown shops, who were more than happy to help, said Barbara King, 47th Mission Support Squadron. "We sent out an initial email asking for volunteers, and the support was overwhelming. Everything from the neck wraps to the food, to the door prizes were all donated by the local community."
Lisa Bowden, whose husband, Capt. Jefferey Bowden, is deployed, said the event was more than she expected. "When I walked in, I couldn't believe that we actually had menus."

Captain Bowden has been gone for five weeks, and is scheduled to return this summer. For me, the nights get long without any company. But this night has been absolutely divine," Mrs. Bowden explained.

"There is never a good time for your spouse to be away, and this is just one way we reach out and let them know how much we care," said Mrs. King.

During each Air Expeditionary Force cycle, the AFRC hosts three primary events, aiming each one at a different member of the family. While the spa night was designed for spouses, there are upcoming events directed towards the children and the family as a whole.

"There is nothing we wouldn't do to make the spouses and their families more comfortable while their loved one is away," Mrs. King said.

Mrs. Bowden echoed Mrs. King's comment, "The one thing that surprised me the most with this deployment is the overwhelming support from the community. People are just amazing."

For details about upcoming events for those with deployed spouses, contact Sergeant Anderson at 298-5574.