It’s hard to surprise military spouses.
They are, by nature, prepared for all kinds of occasions. Moving in three weeks? No problem. Driving multiple kids to sporting events, doctor appointments and school functions all in the same day? Easy-peasy.
That’s why the National Military Family Association, through the generous support of The Sellier Family Foundation, went above and beyond to keep our surprise under wraps.
We invited two deserving military spouses and their families to join us for “focus groups” discussing the challenges of pursing higher education.
The first spouse to participate was Lisa, a Marine spouse pursuing a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education. Lisa had been a working special education teacher and currently teaches military children on a local Army base. When asked what her biggest hurdle was, she said it was all the unknown costs and fees above and beyond tuition charges.
The second military spouse was Amy, an Air Force spouse pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling. Her life took a sharp change of course when she and her husband were presented with the opportunity to adopt siblings coming from a household of substance abuse.
Amy shared, “I never expected to be a mom. I thought my life would revolve more around my career and the causes I chose to devote myself to. Children came barreling into our life through an unexpected adoption opportunity. My life has undergone a drastic remodel. Gone are the days of social and political operative. Here to stay are commitments of love…the chaos and detritus of childhood days well-spent…and cacophonous celebrations of even the tiniest developmental gains. I study at night when the chores of the day are accomplished, and my little warriors are abed. I plumb the glorious mysteries and advances of mental health and emerge with insights that benefit my family and our challenging journey.”
Amy’s biggest hurdle was going it alone with her husband often traveling for work. In addition to playing single-parent much of the time, was the weighty cost of going back to school.
And thus, our surprise.
The truth was, we staged the “focus groups” to surprise both Lisa and Amy with the news that we would be paying off the remainder of their school charges and fees—thanks to the generosity of The Sellier Family Foundation. Amidst heartfelt tears and shock, Amy said it better than we ever could: “There are senders and there are go-ers. Thank you for being my sender.”
The National Military Family Association understands the difficulties spouses encounter when going back to school or pursuing dreams. That’s why we created our Military Spouse Scholarship Program in 2004—to lend support and assistance to military spouses regardless of their spouses’ rank or service branch.
“When military members serve, spouses serve, too.” NMFA Executive Director Joyce Wessel Raezer said. “They’re mom, dad, teacher, taxi driver, chef, even caregiver. Most sacrifice their own education and career aspirations to put their family’s needs first. They’re the true homefront heroes, and we’re honored to support them every day of the year.”
Special thanks to The Sellier Family Foundation for making this gift possible and for joining us in celebrating these spouses and their accomplishments.