Strength in numbers

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Every year, the Friday before Mother’s Day marks a special day for military members and their Families. This year marked the 30th anniversary of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which was set by former President Ronald Reagan in 1984.


Fort Campbell expanded the celebration into a three-day event last week. There were plenty of vendors offering services, all of which were free of charge to the attending spouses.


The theme of this year’s Military Spouse Appreciation Week was “Army Spouses: Keeping Army Families Strong.” This year’s activities featured an Asian culture atmosphere.


Dave Etter, a spouse in attendance of several of this year’s activities, said the Asian culture theme this year was very entertaining. This was his third year attending Military Spouse Appreciation Week at Fort Campbell.


“Without our vendors we wouldn’t be able to do this kind of thing,” Etter said. “There was plenty to do and see and the event was a lot of fun.”


Tara Goodson, MWR marketing coordinator at Fort Campbell, said that each day had its own agenda. Spouses at the May 6 mini-conference at the Family Resource Center were treated to an Asian-themed cooking show, Origami with Guenette Arts & Crafts Center, painting cherry blossom’s with Swirlz, Okawa Baize Karate and growing an Asian-themed vegetable garden with Dana Chango.


The evening of May 7 was all about cooking and the event centered on food. Finally, Friday night was spa night, which included eyebrow waxing, hand and shoulder massages and manicures.


Goodson added that the multi-day event has been going on for the past six consecutive years, and this year’s attendance was collectively the largest for all three events. Attendance for the final night of the event soared to more than 600 spouses.


“So many spouses don’t take time for themselves to treat themselves, whether it’s because they don’t have the time in their day because they’re busy being a wife, being a mom, working inside and outside the house or volunteering,” said Goodson. “You don’t always get to take care of the things that you wish you could do, and to have the opportunity to do those things and it not cost you anything is truly a wonderful thing.”


Becki Mastrian, an attendee of all this year’s activities, commented that this year had the biggest crowd she had ever seen at Military Spouse Appreciation Week.


“It’s great to just relax and chat with everyone,” said Mastrian. “Everyone should go to it at least once. It’s nice to be pampered.”


Shawna Michaud, a spouse volunteer, assisted in coordinating the May 6 mini-conference at the Family Resource Center for the past four years.


“This event is intended to shower our appreciation on our spouses,” she said.


“We want to introduce them to new things and give them more opportunities to participate in the community,” Michaud added.


“We want them to create something for themselves, whether it is painting, planting a garden or martial arts.”


General Raymond Odierno, the 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, spoke to spouses across the Army formation via his Facebook page saying, “To all the spouses that support our military men and women, thank you … not just today, but every day.”


Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, also addressed military spouses via Facebook saying,


“In each and every instance, we have been moved not just by your sacrifices, but by your incredible spirit and commitment to America.”

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