Kadena recognizes outstanding spouse
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Lisa Vinacco has a busy schedule. Balancing a life filled with appointments, teaching, and family time is vital to maintaining normalcy despite the strain of military life overseas.
Vinacco, the 2015 Kadena Key Spouse of the Year, represents another milestone in the long line of military mothers and spouses who balance a multitude of tasks, seemingly at the same time, while taking care of the family in her family at home and in her squadron.
Growing up as a military dependent, Vinacco saw her mother give back to her military family in the spouses club while taking care of her at home. She saw the difference her mother made in the lives of others.
"I knew that's what I wanted to do," Vinacco said. "I saw the difference that my mom made and just how passionate she was about that, and I wanted to have the opportunity to do that too."
As a key spouse for the 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Vinacco works alongside five other key spouses as a liason between spouses and leadership for a unit that has more than 500 active duty members.
"We meet with the commander each month," Vinacco said. "That's not the norm for most squadrons. The leadership here is very passionate about the program and helping their spouses, so at those meetings we get to talk to them about spouse's concerns and how we can reach out and do different things with them."
Vinacco said her role as a key spouse is to serve other spouses.
"As I was coming on as a key spouse there was a big push to make quarterly calls," she said. "So we have been trying our hardest to make sure we are aware of every spouse in the squadron and that they each get a phone call every quarter. Every few months we try to check in so it can give them a face to the squadron. Since it's a huge squadron it can be very intimidating for the new spouses."
To make the transition to an overseas assignment easier for new spouses to the 18th AMXS, Vinacco and other key spouses host welcoming events.
"Each month during permanent change of station season, we host a new spouse dinner so new spouses can meet with key spouses and other new spouses in an intimate setting," Vinacco said. "That way it's not as intimidating when they go to the bigger events."
Vinacco is married to U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Vinacco, 18th AMXS engineer, and supports him at home so he can focus on the mission at work.
Capt. Vinacco said spouses are critical to the resiliency of their loved ones in the unit.
"She is the bedrock of everything that I'm able to do. I wouldn't be able to go to work. I wouldn't be able to work for my maintainers if I didn't know Lisa had everything under control at home."
To Capt. Vinacco, Lisa is the key to everything in his life.
"She home schools the kids and is a part of the key spouses organization," he said. "Everything outside of my work, she handles and does an amazing job with it. If it weren't for her I couldn't do half of what I do on a daily basis."
"It's very nice to be recognized," Vinacco said. "But I feel that any one of my five fellow key spouses deserve to be recognized for the award also. We all have ideas and projects in mind, but without everyone's support none of those can come to fruition."