SPARK! ignites ideas on installation

By Patrick YoungFebruary 7, 2019

SPARK! ignites ideas on installation
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The SPARK! spouses' conference, developed by spouses for military spouses, was Feb. 1 at Fort Stewart's Club Stewart, with more than 200 attendees and information providers sharing information.

"We all need inspiration from time to time," said Lori Quintas, SPARK! spouses' conference committee member and wife of 3rd Infantry Division commander, Maj. Gen. Lee Quintas.

The event, themed "Home, Health, Career - Reimagine, Rethink, Reignite" offered a full spectrum of information arranged in six rounds, with six courses each round.

More than 30 classes were held addressing subjects like finding joy in everyday life, self-defense, blogging for a living, the art of couponing, the superpower of super-foods, tips for military moves and organized living, and starting your own business.

Each class brought in subject matter experts like Carson Fortner, a martial arts instructor in Pooler, who taught kraw maga for self-defense. Among the tips he provided, with the help of Joe Bouchard, Millie Orem and the 3rd Infantry Division chaplain Capt. Andrew Alterman, was the shelling techniques, which is used to break choking holds and to take down aggressors.

Another popular venue was syndicated television host Vera Stewart, who performed a cooking demonstration and shared her reflections on 'Giving from the Heart.'

In addition to the scheduled classes, more than 25 vendors staffed by Fort Stewart agencies like Army Community Service, the Directorate of Emergency Services, Winn Army Community Hospital, and partnership agencies like the USO. Several off-post groups were also on hand too, like Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The vendors answered questions and provided information about available services and resources.

Christi Kisko understands the challenges military life poses. She and her husband, 1st Sgt. Garry Kisko, 92nd Engineers, have spent more than 17 years in the Army. Her family has moved many times. Their son, Justin, now serves in the Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Her other son Kadence is scheduled to join the Army in June. She sees the value in the SPARK! spouses' conference.

"I think events like today can help," Kisko said. "Many new spouses aren't aware of the services available in the area. Sometimes it is hard to navigate your way around the military. It is important to reach out to our young spouses so they don't feel lost."

She said she enjoyed the event, and learned some new things, too.

Learning new things was part of the conference's intent, according to Quintas. She said it was designed to share ideas, which benefit not only new military spouses but seasoned veterans, too.

She noted the events success was achieved through community partnership, the efforts of volunteers and garrison support. She also thanked the SPARK! committee members Kelly Evans, Sue Boyles, Karen Wolter, Bethany Marshall and Christina Hendrex for their endeavors.