All it took for Amy Mariano to accept her position at the Army Contracting Command headquarters was a few long drives and support from her husband.

A former ACC-National Capital Region employee and the current executive assistant to the ACC deputy to the command general, Mariano began searching for a job in the Washington, D.C., area after learning the ACC-NCR would be closing.

"I didn't want to be away from home as much as I had been for the past three years," said the Front Royal, Va., native. "My commute was a minimum of four hours each day and that didn't include the times when I had to get up three hours earlier during bad weather so I could shovel myself out to be at work on time."

With questions about her future employment, Mariano decided to re-establish her hair styling business locally in hopes of limiting her commute and continue to make money.

"Frankly, I was tired, physically tired all the time," she said. "Things with the business weren't moving as fast as I needed them to. My husband and I were getting pretty nervous."

When things began getting unnerving and her future looked cloudy, Mariano discovered a bit of Alabama sunshine.

"I got word of a possible position at ACC headquarters. My first instinct and answer to myself was absolutely not. I was not moving away from my home and away from all of my family," said Mariano, who lived near her grandparents, parents, siblings and extended family members in Front Royal.

"After I had time to think about it, including the 2 1/2-hour drive home, I told my husband. His response was 'thank God' and 'yes you're taking it.' After that, it didn't seem so bad."

Accepting the position in Huntsville, Ala., came at a price. Initially, she had to temporarily leave her husband, Aaron, and her 6-year-old son, Caleb, in Virginia.

"My biggest challenge is being away from my family," said the 28-year-old. "Until my husband finds a job, it's just me and my son.

"My family is very close, so not being able to hop over for a visit or a last-minute dinner request at my mom's or grandparents will be very hard," she said. "The plane tickets and drives back and forth for my husband to attend interviews are putting a bit of strain on the wallet as well. But I know it will be worth it once everything falls into place. I just hope it falls in place soon."

Mariano said she looks forward to when her family will be reunited with her in the Huntsville area.

"I'm happy to see my son awake during the day and not just give him a kiss while he is asleep at 4:30 in the morning before leaving or tucking him into bed 30 minutes after I get home," said the 4-year federal employee. "My commute is short enough that our family will actually get to have a life together. This is very important because this is my son's first year in elementary school.

"It will be nice to finally get to carry out my role as mom better and not have to rely on everyone else," she said. "No longer will I have to make the routine calls on my way to work to make sure things needed to run the house have not been forgotten and are on schedule."