FORT KNOX, Ky. – For 38 years, Military Spouse Appreciation Day has honored the men and women who serve their country in a different capacity – alongside the service members they married.
The Department of Defense reports there are approximately 1 million military spouses across all active and reserve components. C. Eddy Mentzer, associate director of military community support programs for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, said, “That’s a million individual stories.
“That’s something as a department that we have to really recognize. While we can’t solve every challenge, we have to listen to those unique individual stories.”
Not only has Mentzer worked as a federal civilian employee for the past three decades, he is also a military spouse.
Like Mentzer, I am both a military spouse and a DoD civilian employee. I have been married to my active-duty Army husband for 15 years. The knowledge and perspective I’ve had the opportunity to gain from this combination of experiences has allowed me to receive deeply appreciated exposure to the many kinds of support resources provided for military spouses.
Prior to my employment here with public affairs, I worked from home. Although it allowed me flexibility and freedom, it felt isolating at times. The spouse co-work space Fort Knox now offers – where those who telework can work alongside others in a common office area – is something I would have enjoyed utilizing to meet and network with fellow spouses, not to mention having a workspace free of home-related distractions.
My current position has allowed me to work closely with members of the Fort Knox Army Community Service program. I‘ve heard firsthand the types of cases and unique situations that this program has assisted with as well as the countless ways spouses and Families have received help.
“Military Families have a whole bucket of extra stressors,” said Stacey Haynes, Fort Knox ACS New Parent Support Worker. Haynes is one of the many team members dedicated to ensuring spouses have any resources they may need to feel supported.
Army ACS offers many different services dedicated to aiding Families with personal readiness in a variety of matters to include financial, employment, relocation and parenting. It also provides victim advocacy and survivor outreach in cases of violence and abuse, so those most vulnerable have a safe place and available assistance.
“No matter what somebody has going on in their life, we’re not going to just connect them with what we offer,” said Haynes. “We’re going to connect them with everything that’s available to make sure they know all of the services that support them, not just what ACS provides.”
Although these services are available year-round, there is also a virtual event happening specifically in conjunction with Military Spouse Appreciation Day. The DoD is hosting its sixth annual three-day virtual symposium through Military OneSource from May 10 to 12. The theme of this year’s free event is “2022 for YOU – More for Your MilLife.” Planned activities include career building skills, money-saving ideas, relationship strengthening and even finding balance in life.
Military Spouse Appreciation Day was first established April 17, 1984 by President Ronald Reagan in recognition of the many sacrifices and contributions made by military spouses over the years. It is now celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day, recognizing that 92% of all military spouses are female, according to DoD stats.
In my 15 years as an Army wife, I’ve moved with my Soldier to seven different states where, with each new adventure, we’ve created the next temporary home together for our family. Despite the many challenges military life presents, I’m thankful for the extraordinary experiences it has provided us and the many resources available for Families to face the challenges head-on.
Editor’s note: To reserve the spouse co-work space or for information on other spouse employment services, contact ACS specialist Summer Carney by phone at 502-624-8068 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.