Military Spouses Awarded for Contributions to Service Members

Story Number: NNS130509-18Release Date: 5/9/2013 9:21:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Haws, Defense Media Activity

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- The sixth annual Military Spouse of the Year (MSOY) Luncheon was held at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., May 9.

The Brand Director of Military Spouse, Kate Meuf, said that military spouses are an important element to our deployed military forces.

"Military spouses are there to support our families and service members when they are deployed back on the home front," said Meuf. "In addition to holding down the home front we want to make sure that the military community and Americans are aware of their initiatives and efforts and highlight their accomplishments."

Senior leadership from each branch of service presented awards to the spouses in honor of their support and unwavering commitment to the military community.

This year's winner for the Navy was Alisha Youch, whose husband, Cmdr. Dan Youch, is stationed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. She was chosen as the Navy's Spouse of the Year for her role as a clinical social worker for mental health and her dedication to expanding public awareness of suicide among service members and families.

Laure Ferguson, wife of Vice Chief of Naval Operations Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, presented Alisha Youch with her award and praised her for her contributions to the Navy.

"You all inspire us as military spouses to do what we so, thank you for that," said Ferguson.

Youch said that she feels overwhelmed after receiving the award, but views it as an honor and a responsibility to represent Navy spouses around the world.

"I'm really looking forward to working with not just navy spouses but with all different branches of military spouses as we join efforts from all of their different platforms," said Youch.

Military Spouses of the Year (SOY) were selected from each military branch and one overall winner was chosen by a combination of popular vote and a selection committee to represent the entire military spouse community.

The Military Spouse of the Year award went to Alicia Hinds Ward, spouse of Tech. Sgt. Edwinston Ward of the National Guard.

"I look to my sister military spouses and leaders and I'm absolutely amazed that I am here and love the fact that I am able to work with all of you," said Ward. I'll gladly pick up the torch and carry it as best as I can."

In addition to Ward the service level winners were:
Army Spouse of the Year: Tara Crooks
Navy Spouse of the Year: Alisha Youch
Marine Corps Spouse of the Year: Karen Guenther
Air Force Spouse of the Year: Verenice Castillo
Coast Guard Spouse of the Year: Shelley Kimball

MSOY was founded by Military Spouse Magazine in 2008 to honor more than 1 million military spouses from all ranks and branches of service.

Family members of Sailors assigned to the Raptors of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71 wait at Naval Air Station North Island during the squadron's homecoming.
Official U.S. Navy file photo of Navy spouses welcoming their Sailors back from deployment. (US. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ryan Harper/Released)
April 30, 2013
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