Pirate themed Hearts Apart brings spouses of deployed together

Master Sgt. Andrew Flora, 9th Maintenance Operations Squadron first sergeant, serves food to a spouse of a deployed Airman during the Hearts Apart Dinner at the Contrails Inn Dinning Facility Oct. 13. The pirate themed dinner and was hosted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center together with Beale's first sergeants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shawn Nickel)

Master Sgt. Andrew Flora, 9th Maintenance Operations Squadron first sergeant, serves food to a spouse of a deployed Airman during the Hearts Apart Dinner at the Contrails Inn Dinning Facility Oct. 13. The pirate themed dinner and was hosted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center together with Beale's first sergeants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Shawn Nickel)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- Pirate themed decorations lined the tables and children were encouraged to wear outfits portraying pirate characters for the Hearts Apart Dinner at the Contrails Inn Dinning Facility Oct. 13.

The Airmen Family and Readiness Center together with Beale's first sergeants hosted the Hearts Apart Dinner for spouses and families of deployed Airmen. The purpose of the dinner was for spouses to get together for a night of food, fun and prizes.

A&FRC representatives were on hand to explain available programs to attendees and a room with activities and toys for children to enjoy was provided by the Child Development Center and Youth Center volunteers.

"This dinner is just an excellent opportunity for us to showcase the our programs and bring these spouses together so they can relate to other people going through the same stresses that can be experienced because of the separation of deployments," said Betty Harris, 9th Force Support Squadron A&FRC flight chief.

Leadership from several squadrons attended to answer questions while Beale's first sergeants, who sponsored the event, served a buffet style dinner, which included fish, stuffed chicken, potatoes and several other side dishes.

"Families are an integral part of our military community and if we don't ensure the families that are left behind are taken care of, we have failed to perform our duty," said the 48th Intelligence Squadron, first sergeant. "Nothing can replace eyeball to eyeball communication opportunities like these times when we can show our support directly."

Amy Darling, wife of Staff Sgt. Donald Darling, 7th Space Warning Squadron manpower, attended with their daughter.

"This is the second dinner like this I have been to and I met a lot of friends at the first one," she said. "I also learned about a lot of great outlets, such as give parents a break night, which have given me breaks and really saved us in binds."

Ms. Darling also explained the dinner serves as a reminder that there is a lot of support waiting to be utilized and you are never alone even at the loneliest times.

The next dinner is slated for the beginning of December and will have a Christmas theme with Santa Claus in attendance. For more information, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 634-2863.