By Staff Sgt. Collette Brooks, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 06, 2021
LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – The smell of freshly brewed coffee paired with the playing of classical music makes this dimly lit room feel like a safe space anyone could benefit from after a long day. The numerous paintings, books and seating options throughout, adds to making the space feel serene, peaceful and calm.
While lactation rooms can be found throughout the base, Airmen with the 372nd Training Squadron at Detachment 12 took the creation of a room for nursing women a step further by also creating an attached “wellness room,” where anyone with base access can enjoy all that the space has to offer.
“The wellness and lactation room was created for every person who visits the schoolhouse and needs a room to relax and take a break from the everyday tasks Airmen face,” said Tech. Sgt. Jessica Booth, 372nd TRS Det 12 production supervisor. “The lactation room was also created for the nursing instructors and nursing students that we have at the schoolhouse. It’s a permanent room for all nursing mothers to utilize to express milk during business hours, which are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.”
With various meetings and training held in the detachment, Booth said she is thankful the initiative for these rooms have gained a lot of traction and she hopes members leave feeling reenergized and inspired to make a difference within their own units.
“I hope once people come experience both our wellness and lactation room, they will create one of their own in their shop,” said Booth. “We task our Airmen with so many day-to-day things to include performance reports, training programs and taking care of their troops, which can be overwhelming. We need to take care of our people and give back to them for all of the hard work they do on the daily.”
Booth showcases her support for those hard working Airmen by continuously restocking the snacks, beverages and items in the spaces.
“The wellness room is stocked every week thanks to Technical Sergeant Booth,” said Staff Sgt. Kasandra Duran, 372nd TRS Det 12 F-35A Lightning II weapons instructor. “The nursing room has books for mothers to read while they pump and there is also a bluetooth speaker we purchased to listen to music. The wellness room is equipped with a TV to play relaxing music and pictures throughout the day, and a coffee bar with hot chocolate, snacks, fresh fruit and a variety of juices and waters.”
From the coffee bar with snacks to the handmade paintings, Booth and Duran have made this special space a true sight to see and experience.
“Not only is Technical Sergeant Booth’s attention to detail phenomenal, but she made sure each room was beyond perfect for our coworkers, students and visitors,” said Duran. “We came together to make the spaces unique and equipped them both with all the little details necessary to make sure mothers, male instructors and students can enjoy their time in detachment 12. Without Technical Sergeant Booth’s caring attitude as a supervisor [and mother], both rooms would not have been possible.”
Members can de stress while using the wellness room as well as use this serene space to increase their mental wellbeing.
“The wellness room is imperative when it comes to mental health, because the ability to escape stressful situations can be incredibly accommodating,” said Booth. “If the job is straining, escaping to be alone for a few moments can allow the brain time to relax and recharge.”
Booth and Duran agreed that this comfort zone would not have been possible without some other helping hands that assisted with the project as well.
“While I came up with the idea for creating the rooms, numerous people helped bring these rooms to life,” said Booth. “Instructors from egress, fuels, weapons, commander support staff, avionics and crew chiefs helped create both rooms. From painting the walls, to fixing the plumbing in the lactation room, this project was a team effort and something that I couldn’t have done alone.”
Additionally, Booth said that her leadership also played a huge role in this project by securing funding for the rooms, which was approximately $2,500.
From shirt hooks, to a mirror, and all the necessary cleaning supplies, Duran said the nursing rooms are a much more acceptable space for mothers.
“We want all females at Luke Air Force Base to know that we are here to provide a comfortable space for them to provide for their babies, while still continuing to be successful in their careers in the military,” said Duran. “All of the females at the detachment, including myself, are married ‘mil to mil.’ This has made it hard for each of us to decide when is the right time to start a family or add to our families. The nursing room has been a big boost in our moral, giving us the hope we needed to know that we can grow our families and still have a space at work that supports our babies as well as our mental health.”
Like Duran, Booth also shares a personal tie to these rooms and hopes her fellow sisters in arms can benefit from them as she and Duran have.
“Speaking from my own experience as a new mother, I hope this room gives active duty, guard and reserve mothers a sense that they do not need to choose between work and family,” said Booth. “A mother can continue her career while providing for her children. The room is equipped with everything a nursing mother needs. Hot running water, low lighting to help the mother relax, cleaning supplies to clean breast pumping parts, and even a changing table for the child. The nursing mother only needs to bring her breast pump and storage bag.”
With both rooms offering so much support and supplies, Booth stressed the importance of making a difference in the lives of others and why that is so important.
“By providing a space in which our Airmen can take care of themselves and their needs, whether that is milk expression or just taking time for themselves, it shows that we are more than just bodies, but respected members of the Air Force,” said Booth.