“Boots on the ground” has a different meaning for the military spouse. These less-decorated heroes are uniformed by their volunteer efforts, their countless moves, and for many, their leadership of both mother and father roles to their children while their spouses are serving on deployment.
On Thursday, May 8, the patriotic lilts of a brass ensemble greeted these men and women as Regent University’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs, along with several other Hampton Roads organizations, honored the sacrifice of the less-decorated heroes at the annual Heroes at Home 2015 Military Spouse Awards.
The nominees – with spouses dressed in their respective crisp uniforms by their sides or in the company of a community waiting for their loved ones to return home – are celebrated each year as the Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes National Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
An energetic Erin Voirol, executive director for Military Spouse Corporate Career Network, is a 20-year military spouse veteran. When she married her Army husband 20 years ago, she had no idea of what the role of a military spouse was like.
“I was going to be the perfect military wife,” said Voirol. “There would be tea, white gloves, I’d have a career, I’d volunteer, my house would always be clean and I’d have well-behaved kids.”
It didn’t take long for her to realize that was not the reality of military life. Voirol has moved with her family 16 times in 20 years. They are serving in their ninth deployment together. As for surviving the ups and downs that are inevitable with balancing, Voirol has advice that comes with rich experience:
“Leave the house,” she said. “Get off social media and in the community, and encourage others to join you. Build a network, reach out to others; it will help your path.”
Regent continues to honor active-duty servicemen and servicewomen, veterans and their spouses by its strong commitment to providing a network to those seeking fellowship and support. Regent’s schools offer tuition discounts for spouses of active duty service members. Additionally, its involvement with the Annual Military Spouse sponsorship comes in part with a Presidential Scholarship – a full-tuition ride to Regent University – to the recipient each year.
This year, Amber Huffman received the award for her service as a command ombudsman, her volunteer work and her efforts to support military families.
“Being a military-friendly university is more than serving troops in uniform and veterans. With many if not most military spouses in the workforce today, it’s essential that they obtain education in high-demand, portable career fields such as teaching, paralegal, and nursing, in order to provide for their families,” said David Boisselle, director of Regent’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs. “We want to equip that very special military spouse for leadership at a higher level.”
Learn more about Regent University’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs.