Military Spouse of the Year Hits the Books
By Amanda Morad
January 31, 2012
Sara Jane Arnett (center) stands next to her husband Army Captain Samuel Arnett at a change of command ceremony with son Gammon and infant son Levi.
Pursuing a graduate degree is never an easy undertaking. Add to it three young children and an active-duty military spouse, and the task can become monumental. But the stress doesn't seem to daunt Regent University student Sara Jane Arnett.
Arnett, wife of Army Captain Samuel Arnett of the 221st Military Police Detachment out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, was awarded a full-tuition presidential scholarship to attend Regent at The Flagship Military Newspaper's Heroes at Home Military Spouse Awards luncheon last spring.
"As a career military officer, I can say unequivocally that my 'hero at home' was my wife," said Dave Boisselle, Regent's director of military affairs. "Regent University wants to bless the region's top military spouse so that she or he can not only enjoy the fruits of his or her selfless sacrifice, but become a Christian leader to change the world. It is also our prayer that the Military Spouse of the Year will use her or his presidential scholarship from Regent to make things better for all military spouses."
Arnett is enrolled in Regent's School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship pursuing a Master's in Organizational Leadership degree.
"Since we've been in the military, I've done different volunteer initiatives or been involved with family support groups, but now, with this degree and all I've learned in just one class, it's really helping my leadership skills," Arnett said. "I chose this program because I kept asking myself, 'how can I be a better leader?'"
Arnett brings her leadership skills to her role as Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader for her husband's unit. The FRG acts as a liaison between the unit and the families and provides targeted support to spouses while the unit is deployed. Arnett organizes events for the soldiers' spouses, keeps in contact with the families of deployed soldiers, and works with Army Community Services and other resources to make sure the families' needs are met. "If the spouse is happy, then most likely, the soldier's going to be happy. That helps everyone across the board," Arnett explained.
Arnett takes her classes online from her Newport News, Va., home as she cares for her three young sons: Gammon, 4, Harrison, 2, and Levi, 6 months. Finding the balance between school, family and military work hasn't been easy, but the rewards are manifold. "For me, the most rewarding part is being hands on and forming personal relationships with these military spouses and the community, finding what we can do to help each other out," she said.
Arnett also had some advice for military spouses interested in higher education. "First, accepting the commitment to persevere and stick it through is important. PCS (permanent change of station) moves and deployments come around sooner rather than later, so it is essential to have the support and help of your spouse," she explained. "I encourage friends and fellow military spouses to go for it and better themselves with higher education because it will always pay out in the long run for their family .... If I can do it, anybody can do it!"
Arnett is also preparing to release her first children's book to help kids cope with the inevitable transitions that come as part of a military family. My Daddy's a Soldier releases in April, the national Month of the Military Child.
With her degree, Arnett has set her sights on the world. She and her husband have extensive experience in missions and a passion for sharing Christ through missions work. For now, military families have become her mission field.
"I knew the program at Regent had a focus on global leadership, so I want to use [my degree] where I can be more competitive in a global market, but that starts here within my own family and with the FRG," she explained.
Learn more about Regent's military connections.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888