FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 8, 2013) -- From 18 to older than 80, Fort Rucker Spouses Club members help provide community service on and off post all year long, and the club's kickoff event is just around the corner.

The club invites everyone on post to attend its free event, the Fort Rucker Spouses Club Membership Drive, Aug. 15 at The Landing's ballroom from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., said members of the club's board of directors.

"The membership drive is the first official day of this board year. It is kind of like the first day of school for spouses," said Angel Mangum, honorary president and wife of Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general. "It is just a laid back meet-and-greet where spouses can get to know each other, new spouses can sign up and learn about the local area, and have a sneak peek about what the spouses club is all about."

The event is Family friendly and parents are welcome to bring their children.

"We will have different vendors come in and participate, and the 98th Army 'Silver Wings' Band will play, and there will be drawings and prizes to be won," said Helen Kosman, first vice president, adding that free finger food will be provided.

The purpose of the drive is to help build membership for the coming year, to educate spouses about what is in the area, and provide a place for spouses to display their home-based businesses and meet each other.

"It can be scary to come to one of these events if you don't know anyone, but getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to learn more about yourself and your community," said Lynne Boehm, publicity officer. "We help forge new relationships that may last a lifetime."

More than 20 vendors are expected to attend. Some of the vendors scheduled to be there are Mary Kay, Scentcy, Pampered Chief and Gold Canyon, along with representatives from Army Community Service, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and the Leading Change Team.

There will be a table where people can sign up for the club, but it is not mandatory and signups are available all year long on the club's website.

If people do wish to sign up, the dues to join are $20 a year for permanent party and $15 a year for spouses of flight school or advanced course student spouses.

Though the club is a social organization, it also serves as a service opportunity for the community outside the gates as well as in, according to Mangum and the others.

"Our missions are very important to our club, but without our volunteers we can't accomplish those missions," said Nicole Millard, president. "The club's mission is to develop a spirit of community responsibility and for our volunteers to gladly give of their time, but we also want to provide opportunities for social, cultural, creative and educational pursuits."

The club is an open one, where men and women of all ranks and trades can join, and it is described as being an intermixed club that is large and diverse.

"We are a big melting pot, basically," said the club's president. "Different ideas and different perspectives are more than welcome here."

To be a member, people must be the spouse of an active-duty or retired commissioned officer, warrant officer or enlisted Soldier assigned to Fort Rucker or residing in the local area.

All civilian employees, and spouses of civilian employees, employed at Fort Rucker are welcome to join, as well as spouses of international Soldiers, female international Soldiers, and Family members 18 and older with a valid military identification card residing with an active-duty military sponsor assigned to Fort Rucker.

Spouses of National Guard or Reserve military personnel not on active duty but residing in the area are also allowed to join. Un-remarried widows of military personnel who reside in the area may join, too.

"Come to a luncheon, which are our meetings, and test the waters out. Find a board member and we will be happy to make introductions," said Jen Thomson, honorary first vice president.

Kosman encourages spouses that do not have Aviators as husbands or wives to join the club because "you are not the only one out there."

"My husband is not in Aviation, so for me everything was and is different," she said. "Many spouses that come here don't have any experience with the military at all, so this is a great way to find out about the area, to make friends and to get involved."

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