- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2009

CITIZEN JOURNALISM:

Military Spouse magazine and the United Services Automobile Association presented the award for Military Spouse of the Year at a luncheon May 7 - the eve of Military Spouse Appreciation Day - in the pavilion of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

This year’s Military Spouse of the Year is Tanya Queiro of Jacksonville, N.C.

Mrs. Queiro is the wife of Marine gunnery Sgt. Jose Queiro and the mother of three children. She spent 12 years on active duty in the Marines.

National Security Adviser James L. Jones, a surprise guest at the luncheon, said the Obama administration is interested in the welfare of the nation’s military families. His wife, Diane Jones, presented the award and described Mrs. Queiro as a “special blend of professionalism and toughness.”



“Being a military spouse is a lifestyle, not a job,” Mrs. Queiro said during her acceptance speech.

She said the military lifestyle requires sacrifice but presents opportunities through “education and sharing of resources.”

Mrs. Queiro is using those opportunities to work toward a doctoral degree in organization and management.

A short introductory video outlined Mrs. Queiro’s typical day. She rises at 4:45 a.m. to prepare breakfast for the family and send the children to school. She works from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is home when Jose Jr., Adrianna and Marcus return from school. After supper and homework, the Queiros share an hour of family time. Mrs. Queiro then studies.

Mrs. Queiro is a graduate of the Department of Agriculture’s New Leader Program and a mentor in Civilian Career and Leadership Development. She volunteers for Operation Noble Heart and several other organizations. She is also a lifetime member of the Women Marines Association. The June issue of Military Spouse magazine details her accomplishments.

Mrs. Queiro acknowledged that her husband’s frequent and extended deployments are stressful. The best way to cope, she said, is to “appreciate what you have and move forward day to day.”

Sgt. Queiro said his wife is valuable to the family and the community.

As an advocate for military families for the next year, Mrs. Queiro will be writing a daily blog and a monthly column for Military Spouse magazine, and will make personal appearances.

Readers from around the world submitted 700 nominations for the second annual Military Spouse of the Year contest. A committee of military wives, professional women and 2008 award winner Chelle Brewer from Fort Bragg, N.C., selected five top contenders: one woman from each of the services.

The finalists were Misti Stevens, wife of Army Lt. Col. Wendell Stevens from Fort Campbell, Ky.; Christy Kuriatnyk, wife of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Alex Kuriatnyk from Ellerslie, Ga.; Susan Webb, wife of Air Force Master Sgt. Ken Webb from Glasford, Ill.; and Patricia Pruett, wife of Coast Guard Cmdr. James Pruett of Miami.

The co-founder and editor-in-chief of Military Spouse magazine is Babette Maxwell, a fourth-generation military dependent.She was raised in the Army but now lives in Norfolk with her husband, a Navy officer, and their three sons. She is also a mechanical engineer and has worked on engine design for the Air Force and the Navy.

After Sept. 11, she devoted herself to raising awareness about military spouses and their families.

She and a partner published the first issue of the magazine in September 2002. In 2006, the magazine was acquired by Victory Media in Pittsburgh.

The Military Spouse of the Year Award draws attention to”stories no one would know otherwise,” she said. The sense of community, shared sacrifice, and volunteer work is the “common thread that makes the military community unique and worth knowing.”

• Linda Bartlett is a writer in Annandale. Her husband is a retired Army colonel.

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