By Sgt. Ricardo Branch, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public AffairsDecember 3, 2009
HONOLULU, Hawaii (Nov. 28, 2009) - The roar of thousands of excited fans couldn't compare to the feeling Katherine Ebersole felt at the 2009 Hawaii's Outstanding Army Spouse Award ceremony during the Navy versus the University of Hawaii football game Nov. 28 at Aloha Stadium.
"I am still in shock to be standing out here," Ebersole said. "When I volunteer, I don't expect to ever be recognized because I don't do it for that. I do it because I want to help out in good causes."
Ebersole, 36, from Longview, Texas, was one of eight military spouses present on the field during the weekend game. The game, which recognized servicemembers from all military branches, paid special tribute to the spouses of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The Outstanding Spouse Award, which is presented annually to spouses of deployed troops, recognizes the recipients as the volunteer communicator and organizational focal point for deployed units in hostile operations for 2009.
"I never imagined in 16 years with the Army that I'd be one day standing in front of 36,000 people receiving a check for $1,000 dollars because of what I do for my community," she said. "It's really going to help out for our Christmas shopping and helping donate for the "Toys for Tots program."
Ebersole didn't begin her volunteer service just the other day. She has been active in her community since her husband Greg entered the Army in 1993.
"I have been a family readiness group leader, a coach for Special Olympics, and volunteered in my local community and my kids' school," she said. "That was just the beginning; I started volunteering as a key caller, during my husband's unit deployment cycle in the 90s."
When her husband's unit deploy, Katherine often serves as a caller through her unit's local FRG to pass on information to the wives and family members of deployed loved ones. She is married to Staff Sgt. Greg Ebersole, 84th Engineer Battalion, and credits a multitude of reasons for being so involved in volunteering. Her main reason is to server others, however, is to make a difference because in her words, "there's always someone out there you can help."
In addition to recognition at the pregame show, Katherine was presented with a certificate of appreciation by Mayor Mufi Hannemann at the Honolulu City Hall.
"I enjoy volunteering, I really do," Katherine said. "Volunteering is a good way to meet a lot of other people who are all in the same situation. Rank doesn't matter either because we all are going through the same thing of dealing with a loved one who is deployed and serving his country."
Following the opening ceremony, Katherine joined her family in the stands to watch the football game. Her son Gregory, who sat next to her, best summed up the feelings the entire Ebersole family felt for the matriarch of the family in five simple words, "I'm proud of you mom."
Additional recipients of the spouse award include, Sharon Ortiz, U.S. Air Force, Randi Fox, U.S. Coast Guard, Jillian Sentell, U.S. Marine Corps, Jessica Jane Swanson, U.S. Navy, Rita Miller, Hawaii Air National Guard, Leilani Kerr, Hawaii Army National Guard, and Tiffany Milisavlijevich, U.S. Pacific Command.