Hearts Apart brings 'Gatsby' to Maxwell



by Donovan Jackson
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


10/3/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- The Maxwell Event Center had the look and feel of the "roaring '20s" Sept. 23 at the Hearts Apart program's "Great Gatsby"-themed dinner.

Once a month, the program hosts a dinner at different locations on Maxwell in support of families who have a loved one deployed, soon-to-be deployed, recently returned, on a remote tour or on a temporary duty assignment.

"The dinner gives families something to look forward to while their loved ones are gone," said Andrew Tveit, Airman and Family Readiness Center consultant. "Recently, one of our spouses commented that instead of counting the months until dad comes home, she and her children count how many dinners that they have left until dad returns."

At the dinner, spouses, children and members of the Troy University Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 017 dressed in chic 1920s-style attire. Women wore shiny accessories, patent-leather high heels and backless dresses. Young men sported three-piece suits, top hats, rusted-leather shoes and imitation cigars.

"The theme for this dinner was simply amazing," said Shundalynn Hall, a library technician at Maxwell and Gunter's community libraries. "I think that people had fun and were very creative with their outfits. It looked like those who were dressed up invested a lot of time in making sure that they looked like they stepped right off of the 'Great Gatsby' movie set."

Hall wore a vintage, lace-ivory drop dress with handmade beads and ruffles.

Lieutenant Col. Christina Lussier, chair of aerospace studies and commander of the ROTC detachment, suggested the theme for this month's dinner.

"Since moving here, I've learned about the Fitzgerald Museum and how the Fitzgeralds lived in Montgomery. Since the program is named 'Hearts Apart,' I immediately thought of a theme that could incorporate local history while also being a lot of fun," Lussier said.

Every month, a different organization on base sponsors the dinner. That organization finds a venue, comes up with the theme and supplies the food.

The support dinners were created by the chapel staff and are usually held on the fourth Tuesday of every month.

Making sure that Airmen's families are well taken care of is the primary mission of the monthly dinners, according to Latonya Lewis, 42nd Air Base Wing community support coordinator.

"These dinners benefit our Airmen and their families," Lewis said. "We have our Airmen downrange fighting and protecting our country, and the last thing they need to be worried about is the welfare of their families back home. We want our Airmen to know that they are a member of the best hometown in the Air Force. We are all a family here at Maxwell and Gunter, and family takes care of their own."