By Derek Gean (Fort Wood Community Editor)May 7, 2015
For April Matlock, taking care of the children, cooking the meals and keeping up with her Family's numerous activities while her husband is deployed, is just what she does. April is a military spouse, and in the spotlight this month, as communities celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day Friday.
April's husband, Sgt. Jason Matlock, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, has been deployed for nearly a year. April, an Atchinson, Kansas, native, has been keeping the Family life steady, while Jason is away.
According to April, being separated during a deployment is one of the biggest sacrifices.
"Having to maintain a household alone with four kids, worrying if their father will make it back home (is not easy)," April said. "(Home responsibilities) are all very difficult things, but (they) have to be done, so you have to make it happen."
Jason, originally from Beloit, Kansas, said he is appreciative of the sacrifices April makes for him, his Family and the nation.
"Being an Army spouse is the hardest job in the Army," Jason said. "It is a big comfort to know my wife is home taking care of my Family."
Jason and April married in 2000, the same year he joined the Army. Through the years, he has seen deployments to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Camp Taji, Iraq, and numerous field-training exercises on top of his current deployment to Korea.
"My wife is a strong woman and has had to deal with me being deployed (several times)," Jason said. "I am glad to know that my loving wife is confident enough to make the right decisions when it comes to our Family," he said.
April said although Army spouses give up a lot to support their Soldiers, it's important to remain mindful of what their Soldier is dealing with also.
"Always support your Soldier. They count on you to be there for them," April said. "They miss a lot of special occasions, (so) don't take it out on them, it hurts them too. Especially during deployment, if you have children, you are just missing him. But he is missing you plus the babies," she said.
As a seasoned spouse, April said she would encourage other spouses to embrace their community and all the resources available. She also said it is important to take care of yourself.
"I've always lived to take care of my Family and my Soldier, and never gone out to be anything but mom or spouse," April said. She recently joined a local roller derby organization and said she has learned it is important to take time for herself.
"I finally did something for me, and it is the most refreshing thing I've ever done," April said.
"I've met some pretty extraordinary ladies who make time away from (Jason) more bearable. I'm not just mom or Sgt. Matlock's spouse anymore, I'm Track Skellington (Skelly) of the Wild Wood Rollers."
April said, while her Family always comes first, having a social life is important for sanity. When not playing roller derby, she also volunteers at the Rolla Veteran's of Foreign Wars and is a member of their ladies auxiliary.
April said being a military spouse is an honor and a great service to the nation and service members.
"I love our veterans," she said.
Rebecca Hultz, a spouse from upstate New York, said being a military spouse means being good at adapting.
"Your life is determined by your spouses' job," said Hultz, whose spouse, Sgt. Tyler Hultz, originally from Madison, Missouri, serves as an Army medic out of the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.
"I would say it's totally worth it. If you love somebody, you do what you have to do to make your lives work together. There is definitely nothing else like it," she said.