The Orrells
Rhegan Orrell, 5 months old, dances and bounces along with The U.S. Army Strolling Strings. Her parents, Krysti and Maj. Greg Orrell, brought her along the the Fort Myer Military Spouse Appreciation Day dessert social at Spates Community Club.

The military spouse has been called the cornerstone of the military and the backbone of the Army Family. Friday, May 8, the Soldiers of the Fort Myer Military Community honored their spouses at the Military Spouse Appreciation Day Dessert Social.

The social, held at Spates Community Club, gave Soldiers married and single - as well as the garrison itself - a chance to recognize spouses for their efforts and sacrifices.

''In the Army we have a saying, 'We are on duty 24-7,'" said FMMC Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Jefferson Varner III. ''It's also true the military spouse in on duty 24-7, though it's probably more like 48-7 because of all they do."

Varner said the military spouse is a ''chameleon," capable of adapting to any situation that arises, whether it's an argument between children or a deployment. He said their commitment embodies all that is good about the Army.

''While we're out protecting the homefront, they're at the rear managing our home," he said.

During the social, the U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) Strolling Strings played songs for the attendees. Staff Sgt. Martha Krabill sang a song about the strength of Army spouses and led the crowd in ''God Bless America."

Krysti Orrell, who came to the social with her husband, Maj. Greg Orrell, and 5-month-old daughter Rhegan, said she appreciated the effort put into the event.

''I feel like I'm appreciated every day, but it's very nice that they'd do something like this," she said. ''It nice that they think about us spouses, too."

Staff Sgt. Daniel Coyne attended without his wife, who had to work. He joked that he was showing his appreciation even if she wasn't there to witness it. He said in his marriage, it's the simple things that remind him his wife loves and supports him.

''It might not be the most politically correct way to say it, but she puts up with me, and sometimes that can be a lot to handle," he said. ''She's a great girl."

Chap. (Lt. Col.) Barry White and his wife, Lisa, attended the event, chatting with other families and enjoying the spread of nearly 20 cakes, fresh fruit and a chocolate dipping fountain.

''This is the nicest military spouses' reception I've seen," Lisa said. ''I've been to a few, and they didn't put the same effort into the event."

She said the role of the military spouse isn't drastically different from civilian spouses, but a few key things, especially deployments, separate military spouses from their civilian counterparts. A husband or wife needs to support their spouse by attending events and doing things around the house to help relieve work-related stresses.

''I try to give him a chance to relax and decompress for a while after work, and I try to keep up on chores so he doesn't come home to a lot more work to do," she said. ''You do what you can to make each other happy."

FMMC Garrison Commander Col. Laura Richardson, who herself is a military spouse, compared spouses to NCOs as a kind of unsung hero in the military service. Without the sacrifices military spouses make and without their resilience in the face of unfavorable circumstances, Richardson said, the Army and other services wouldn't be what they are today.

''In the Army, we say spouses keep the Army strong," she said. ''In America, the Army Family keeps our nation strong."

Page last updated Thu May 14th, 2009 at 17:41