Military Spouse magazine is accepting nominations for its 2009 Military Spouse of the Year award, which recognizes military spouses' myriad contributions.
"This award is MSM's opportunity to thank all military spouses for their invaluable contributions, in addition to recognizing them for the challenges they overcome every day," said Babette Maxwell, the magazine's co-founder and executive editor.
The Military Spouse of the Year honoree represents millions of unsung heroes who maintain the home front, give selflessly to their communities and provide support to the nation's troops, Maxwell said. Often, these spouses also have full-time jobs and raise families, she noted.
Nominees must be the spouse of a current member of the U.S. armed forces. Criteria for selecting the winner include impact on community change, volunteerism, personal sacrifice, education and career pursuits and other military spouse-related efforts.
Nominations can be made online at www.msoy.milspouse.com, and must be received by Oct. 8.
After judges review all submissions and select 10 finalists from each military service, Military Spouse magazine and its readers will select the 2009 Military Spouse of the Year. The winner will be announced nationally in the June issue.
He or she also will be honored during the second annual Military Spouse of the Year awards ceremony here in conjunction with National Military Spouse Appreciation Week in May.
The winner will make additional public appearances, write a monthly column to appear in Military Spouse magazine, and maintain a blog during his or her reign, which will last through May 2010.
Last year's award generated hundreds of nominations from across the country, culminating in the selection of Army wife Chelle Brewer as Military Spouse of the Year for 2008.
The Military Spouse of the Year award is sponsored by USAA, a financial services company that serves military members and their families.
"The reason USAA exists is to help military families with their financial security and the peace of mind that brings – especially to the military spouse who shoulders so much responsibility," said Joe Robles, USAA's chief executive officer and a retired major general. "I know I couldn't have done what I did for the Army if my wife, Patty, hadn't taken care of everything else.
"Being the title sponsor of this award is a natural for us. We feel honored to honor military spouses," he added.
USAA is a corporate supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.