FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (May 7, 2009) - Frequent deployments, constant changes of station and trouble finding employment are just some of the challenges that military spouses face on a daily basis.

"My husband and I moved here about 18 months ago and he has been deployed for nearly 15 months of that period," said Melissa Wells, Army spouse. "I had no concept of how truly isolating and difficult it can be to start over from scratch with no friends or family nearby to turn to on the rough days."

Today more than half of the Soldiers serving are married. Their spouses continue to routinely put the welfare of their Soldier, family and nation above their own.

That is why all military services reserve the Friday before Mother's Day to recognize the important role military spouses play in today's Army.

The NCO is the backbone of the Army, but the spouse has been the backbone of the Army family for 234 years. The strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their families, and the military spouse is the backbone of that support and strength.

The Army is committed to improving family readiness through funding of programs, better health care, housing, schools, youth services, child care, education and employment opportunities, according to an Army press release.

Despite the constant obstacles spouses have to overcome, there are also many unique opportunities only available to the military spouse.

"There is literally something for everyone and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner," Wells said. "You can either choose to go it alone, or you can embrace the community and support that is unique to the military. Take a chance, find out what is out there, seize the opportunity and make the most of it.

"When I attend meetings, it's not about where to buy the latest trends or children's clothes or the next play date but what to do and how to handle deployments," said Crystal Summers, Army spouse.

Spouses form special bonds that cannot be completely understood in the civilian world.

"Military spouses have an unspoken understanding of what the other is going through," said April Stern, Army spouse. "No matter what the situation, you know that you aren't the first to walk through it."

Stern, an experienced spouse, offered friendly advice to new spouses. "You go through life changing situations together and the bond that is created because of that is truly unique," she said. "Take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to meet other spouses, especially those in your unit."

The Army recognizes the sacrifice and dedication of military spouses and will strive to provide Soldiers and families a quality of life commensurate with their service.

The kick off celebration will be at the Main PX Mall from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Friday and will feature a cake cutting and appreciation tokens.

In addition, several businesses on post will be offering discounts and free items to spouses.

Morale, Welfare and Recreation is prepared to make it a special night by inviting spouses to enjoy free pampering at the Family Resource Center from 6 until 10 p.m. The evening will consist of rest, relaxation, spa treatments, wine and cheese tasting and special give-a-ways.

"We did one last year during the deployment and hundreds of people showed," said Melissa Schaffner, marketing manager for MWR. "It's free, it's great and spouses love it. It's a chance to hang out with other adults and socialize."

Spa treatments include mini manicures and pedicures, facials, massages and hairstyles. The appointments will be given first come first serve since there are a limited number of appointments that can be filled in the four-hour event.

Giveaways include donated items from Cold Stone Creamery, Cheeseburger Charley's, Cookie Lee Jewelry, Beauti-Control, Tastefully Simple, Woo Skincare and Cosmetics and many more. The event will also feature food from Luigi's Pizza, Toreros Mexican Restaurant and more.

MWR will be giving away discount coupons for Hooper Bowling Center, Sportsman's Lodge, and Cole Park Commons Southern Buffet. This event is open to Military ID card holders, ages 18 and older.

Page last updated Fri May 8th, 2009 at 15:17