The voting is open for the 2013 Military Spouse of the Year. There are many wonderful husbands and wives out there who support their spouses in combat boots and we love them dearly. They sacrifice a lot to keep the home-fires burning. They take on the single-parent gig, they send care packages, they handle all the household odds and ends of broken sinks and flat tires by themselves. In many extraordinary instances, they become a loving caretaker for a wounded warrior, and our admiration for them grows. In that respect, all military spouses should be lauded for their job-well-done!
That being said, doing your job as a spouse doesn’t necessarily make you Military Spouse of the Year. There are many husbands and wives out there who do their marital and parenting duties well and with little recognition. There are some who foster other children (I was briefly fostered with a military family) and others who raise special needs children in ever-changing school districts with ever-changing IEPs and relationships with staff (one wonderful example of that is my friend Rachelle, aka ArmyWifeToddlerMom, who is a FIERCE military spouse and parent!!). There is one particular entrant in the contest who appears to have won her local base round solely because she’s a lesbian and was treated poorly by other wives. And then there are spouses who go beyond all normal expectations.
A current entrant is Karen Guenther. You may ask yourself, “Who?” Are you familiar with the Semper Fi Fund? A lot of people are. Their lives have been touched, affected, and dramatically improved by the Semper Fi Fund. Karen started it at her kitchen table. One simple observation and a drive to DO SOMETHING has turned into a well-known charity that rates 4 stars at the Charity Navigator and which literally helps thousands of people. Karen Guenther remains the Executive Officer, after all of this time and invests herself into helping so many others. To give you an idea of the impact the organization has made, I give you the following from a friend:
It started in May of 2004 on a wife’s kitchen table and in almost 9 years, Karen Guenther’s idea has accomplished the following as of December 2012:
~$67,000,000 in assistance to servicemembers
~Over 8,500 families supported
~$1,000,000 in support for our wounded, injured and ill each month
Operates with less than 6% in overhead expenses (this means that for every $1 someone donates, 94 cents of that goes directly to support our wounded, injured and ill)
Karen deserves to win Military Spouse of the Year. Please go vote for her here. All you need is an email address and it is not limited to military members or their families. Karen did not go into this to get awards or win accolades. She did it because she saw a need in her military community and actively invested her ideas, time, and energy into creating a wonderful legacy for herself and all those spouses out there who love their men and women in uniform.