Cannon spouses give back

Cannon Connections Photo: Eric Butler Thrift Store manager Nance Lavallee, right, tidies up while her duaghter, Elizabeth, test drives a bicycle. The thrift store is operated by the Cannon Spouses Club.

By Eric Butler: Cannon Connections

Officers wives clubs hold a distinct niche in images from American popular culture – and there’s usually several martinis involved.

But that was the past.

These days, groups like the Cannon Spouses Club are helping evolve the perception. No longer is the club, which does have its roots as an Officers Wives Club, open only to women and wives of officers.

Though only one man is a current member of the Cannon Spouses Club, the 61 members of the group are roughly evenly split between families of officers and enlisted personnel – according to current president Apryl Nenortas.

And, since the membership at CAFB was opened up in 2007, the ranks have grown.

The Cannon Spouses Club has swelled in numbers from the 27 members it had back in January.

“The basic purpose of the Cannon Spouses Club is to provide support and entertainment. It’s mostly a supportive, social club,” Nenortas said.

Things have changed, however, as Nenortas added that’s only half of the club’s current mission.

“The other half of us is completely philanthropic. We support various charities and non-profit organizations,” Nenortas said.

The list is long for the entities the Cannon Spouses Club gives donations in time and money.

A Cannon Spouses Club scholarship fund split $8000 to 13 college students recently. The club also donated to veterans in retirement homes as well as bringing them gifts during the holiday season.

At the other end of the spectrum, the CAFB organization also provides gifts to residents of the Christian Children’s Home in Portales annually. Other programs that are recipients include Angel Tree, the Air Force Village, the Fisher House and the Cannon “Top Three.”

One ongoing project, with the exception of the summer months, is the Thrift Store on base. Spouses Club members, along with other volunteers, man the business during the first Saturday of every month and each Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m..

“We have clothes, we have books, we have housewares, toys, furniture, bicycles – a little bit of everything,” said Thrift Store manager Nance Lavallee of the used goods available for inexpensive rates.

Though Cannon Spouses Club members do their fair share of work in the various charitable capacities, the past isn’t entirely forgotten.

“We have a social once a month, from September to May. Typically, we don’t have all 61 (members) show up; it’s more like 30-to-50,” Nenortas said. “We still have some fun.”