Spouses get night of pampering
May 10, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Three hundred spouses packed the Patriot Club May 1 for Spouse-A-Palooza, the military spouse appreciation night. Words and abbreviations like deployment, FRG and FTX are all too familiar to them and each person has their own story of hardship. At the same time they are grateful to be a military spouse.
"I have four kids of my own and in addition to that I watch two babies, so I actually I start my day when my husband gets up for PT. Then I just get myself ready for the day and I hit the ground running," said Liz McChesney.
"Honestly I couldn't imagine life not as a military spouse," she adds while joining her friends.
Fort Sill Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation put on the night as a way to give back to the spouses who support the Soldiers each and every day.
"I'd like to start off by thanking all the people in the room for what you do for our service men and women in the United States of America, so thank you military spouses our hats are off to you," said Michelle Flanagan, FMWR Marketing director.
Brenda Spencer-Ragland, FMWR director, said within one hour of announcing the event all 300 spots were filled, showing that the spouses need and appreciate a night of pampering.
Sponsors also filled up quickly to show their support for Army spouses.
"There's not a sponsor here that doesn't want to be here for the right reasons. They love and appreciate what you guys do to support our nation each and every day," said Spencer-Ragland. "I love that our military spouses have a purpose; I love the fact that they're caring; I love the fact that they're knowledgeable, they're professional and I love the fact that you get up every morning and you try to give back to this nation."
With that the women began a series of icebreakers to help them learn a little something about the fellow spouses in the room. After completing "person bingo" they were free to peruse the tables of goodies. Sponsors lined the walls with everything from clothing and makeup to vitamins and massages.
"I need my girl time. It's nice to get out and laugh, not that I don't laugh at home, but it's nice to have time to bond with my girls. I take time out for it. If you don't do it for yourself you'll go insane especially for a mom of four," said McChesney.
As the women enjoyed themselves, McChesney shared the secret to surviving deployments.
"Everything is unexpected, things are going to change at the last minute. Lean on your fellow military wives. Don't get sucked into negativity because it will happen during any deployment. Look at everything in a positive light because it's there you just have to find it."
On the Patriot Club patio, Monica Wood, FMWR Marketing, captured pictures of them as a snapshot of the camaraderie the spouses shared through common experiences.
"I love the fact that the Army appreciates the spouses," said Aunna Barbatoe, who has a special needs child.
"There are days when you're sitting here going 'Army first, Army first, Army first,' and your husbands are in the field every other week or they're gone multiple deployments. I've seen people wonder: 'Is it really worth it? Does the Army really care about us?' Then nights like this just kind of show that they do."