“I grew up in a small town in Missouri. My husband and I met in our first month of college in Tampa. I have a really loud laugh and he walked up to me between classes at the student center and asked me if that was actually my laugh. He was soft-spoken, almost meek. I would have never thought he’d someday be in the military.
“We were married five years when he decided he wanted to join. We had two kids at the time, and he lost his job in the banking industry in 2011. He was doing everything he could to support our family, but I think he was embarrassed telling people he was working at Quiznos and delivering pizza. But he told me to trust him, that he would figure something out, and I did. And he did.
“He came home one day after talking to a Navy recruiter. He really wanted to join. I was supportive, but I was nervous. I don’t think our families were really excited about it at first either. In the beginning, I thought it was going to be awful. He is my rock, and I didn’t know what I would do without him. But at the same time, and I know it sounds so old school, I was so proud of him for stepping up – for wanting to provide for his family.
“The distances have been tough, on us and on the kids. I put all of our things in storage and moved down to Pensacola while he was in training for six months to be near him. Having him home for dinner and seeing him most weekends was worth living on blow up mattresses for the better part of a year. You learn quickly in the military that it’s just stuff. And we didn’t need any stuff. We just needed him.
“This life is a hard path sometimes. The workups leading up to a deployment are almost harder than the actual deployment. And when they come home, you have to make room for your spouse again. You have to continually work on your marriage. In the end, I think deployments have made our marriage stronger. And there is nothing more I’d rather say than, ‘He is in the Navy.’ Our families have seen what he has done and how hard he has worked, and I know they respect his service too. He is a good father, husband and Christian. Whether he stays in 20 years or gets out soon, I will always be so proud of him, for standing up for our family and for our country.”