FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Nov. 24, 2011) -- Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee representative to Congress, recognized 12 military spouses with the Outstanding Military Spouse Award for their exceptional dedication to the country in a ceremony here Nov. 21.
Two of the 12 awardees are spouses of Task Force Attack (3rd Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment) - Laura Yates, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Terrance Yates, and Jennifer Cornelius, the family readiness support assistant for TF Attack and wife of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kristopher Cornelius.
This prestigious award is given to those military spouses who go above and beyond to support the military family through community involvement, both on- and off-post.
"They have one of the most difficult jobs in the military," Blackburn said. "They will never wear stars on their shoulders -- they wear them in their crowns. But their ranking is without match.
"This is an opportunity for us, on behalf of the constituents of the 7th District, to say thank you to the spouses of our men and women who serve our country," said Blackburn. " It is so appropriate, especially at this time of year."
Yates received her award for her participation in local government and volunteering in various community organizations, such as the Clarksville-Montgomery County Adult Literacy Council and the Relay for Life program.
"When I came to Fort Campbell, I didn't know anybody here, so volunteering was a way to meet other spouses and also give back to the community at the same time," she said.
Cornelius was recognized for volunteering in organizations such as little league softball, high school Junior ROTC boosters and elementary schools.
Cornelius understands the importance of service to community. Her mother is a nurse and her father is the mayor of her hometown, Dodgeville, Wis.
"We've always raised our children to be service-oriented," said her mother, Vicki McCaulley. "It is very important to give of yourself without having to give back for it. When they were young, I would take the kids to the nursing home, and they would sing and dance or bring the dog. There's something meaningful about giving back and not getting a paycheck for it."
While Blackburn presented the awards to spouses who went above and beyond, she said she appreciates the work all military spouses do, not just in the work force or the community, but also at home.
"It is the spouses at home who really work with the entire family unit to make sure needs are met (and) things are good at home, so the troops who are deployed are not worried about what is taking place at home," Blackburn said. "It gives them that peace of mind of knowing there is a community in place that helps tend to their loved ones while they are away."