Military spouses honored for heroism at home

POSTED: 5:23 PM May 09 2013   UPDATED: 5:42 PM May 09 2013
CAMP LEJEUNE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

About 60 military spouses were honored today aboard Camp Lejeune as Heroes at Home.

Amanda Hernandez was one of them. Her husband even Skyped from Afghanistan to see her accept her award as 2013's Hero at Home.

"I'm full of pride," Hernandez said. "I feel like I'm part of a fabulous community. Us wives, we really stick together and we help each other out in the time of need."

Thursday was the sixth year that local husbands and wives have been given awards for their service right here at home. Some of the qualifications to be a nominee include being an active volunteer in the military community and overcoming a significant challenge while a spouse is deployed or training.

Event planner Emily Kelley says nominations came from Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point and New River. Many nominees have full-time jobs and raise families while their spouses are deployed.

"Really, the military spouse is the unsung hero," Kelley said. "We're the ones that do a lot but don't always get the recognition -- a thank-you, a kiss, a hug, a goodnight -- and so this event sets apart these spouses that go above and beyond the call of duty."

Brigadier General Burke Whitman says many Marines' success stems from that support.

"Spouses don't serve as they do as military spouses to get praise, and to get thanks, at all, but it's really important that we recognize it," Whitman says.

Hernandez says recognition can inspire new military spouses.

"Find that military spouse who's been doing it for 10 years plus," Hernandez said. "She'll guide you along the way. Every duty station is what you make of it, and you might as well make the best of it."

Hernandez made that difference by starting an infant loss support group aboard Camp Lejeune with the help of the naval hospital.