Spouses honored for service
Rebecca Mastrian, left, one of the Outstanding Military Spouse awardees, chats with Fort Campbell's Protocol Chief, Judy Fortner, after the ceremony at McAuliffe Hall Tuesday afternoon. Eleven Fort Campbell spouses were awarded for their efforts.

Eleven Fort Campbell spouses received Outstanding Military Spouse awards in a ceremony, Tuesday.

The awards, an idea from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, recognized the achievements of these spouses. Recipients were nominated in part for involvement on post and in the surrounding communities.

Award winners are involved in many organizations, including the Fisher House, Family Readiness Groups and the Little Soldier Tree Program. The ten women and one man also helped support Fort Campbell through other acts of service, such as cooking meals for Soldiers and organizing care packages for the deployed.

While Blackburn was unable to attend the ceremony at McAuliffe Hall due to illness, her District Director Mike Knotts presented the awards with help from 101st Airborne Division Commander Maj. Gen. John Campbell's wife, Ann.

"She has seen a real need to recognize and reach out to the spouses of the men and women who serve us so greatly," Knotts said of Blackburn's inspiration to create the award. "We so frequently lay honor upon the men and women who wear the uniform, and deservedly so. Less often do we pay honor and tribute to the sacrifice of the spouses manning the home fires."

For spouses who are always giving back, it was good to be recognized for their efforts.

"This was really great," said Rebecca Mastrian, one of the awardees. "What was different for me is I am involved with the Fort Campbell volunteer program and I'm always on the other side. I'm organizing the volunteers. I'm handing out the awards to be presented. Here, this time, I'm getting it, and I'm the nervous one."

Mastrian, an on post volunteer for 13 years, began helping others as a member of her childhood Girl Scout troop.

"Volunteer service is in my blood," she said. "I learned it from my mother. So, it's nice to get that pat on the back every once and a while."

Matt Owens, 4th Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, attended the ceremony to support his wife, Catherine.

"I think it's great," he said, of the opportunity to recognize his wife of nearly 7 years. "She deserves it. She puts up with a lot. ... I'm proud of her."

Three 101st Sustainment Brigade awardees were nominated by Lt. Col. Mike Dolata, 716th Military Police Battalion commander, because they are "incredible members of the community."

"The hours they put in, when their spouses are not here, to support our Families is fantastic," he said.

"They needed this level of recognition, and the congresswoman to do this for us is a great opportunity," he added. "We put them in and we were selected for the three of them, and we're very proud of them."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16