For military families, sometimes the hardest battle is the one fought at home, the members of the family left behind when a spouse goes off to war. On Sunday, Oprah Winfrey is bringing back her "Favorite Things" and is featuring 30 military spouses from around the country. Two of them are from right here in Southern Arizona.
Erin Whitehead and Mary Reding say they are very excited to be featured on Oprah's show but they are most excited for what they can do for military families after the episode airs.
It's precious moments, the little things in life that many of us take for granted.
"We do the same things that everybody else in the country does, we just have a little extra something on our plate sometimes," Whitehead, who was named Marine Military Spouse of the Year in 2010, said.
She is talking about her husband Joseph Whitehead a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps who has been deployed three times in the past decade.
"Some people think the deployments get easier the more you do," he said. "Generally they get harder."
Especially considering they have two young girls, 11-year-old Morgan and eight month old baby Emma.
"Military spouses are also resilient and strong," Whitehead said. "I believe they are one of America's best untapped resources."
That is why Oprah is highlighting this special group of 29 wives and one husband, all finalists for the "Military Spouse of the Year Award" from Military Spouse Magazine.
Erin was picked in 2010 for her work in writing and speaking about issues that affect military families.
The other local military spouse, Mary Reding of Tucson, founded the Military Spouse JD Network, a group of legal professionals working to better the lives of military families.
Less than one percent of Americans serve in the Armed Forces, so most of us don't know what it's like to see a spouse off to war.
"I think we need to put more focus on the invisible wounds, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, counseling for spouses who get in a state of depression while their military member is deployed," Mr. Whitehead said.
Those are just some of the issues Erin says military families will be better able to tackle thanks to this national recognition and the growing Military Spouse award program.
"We are now pooling our resources and really excited about affecting change within our community in a huge way," she said.
The episode featuring these military spouses airs this Sunday on OWN: http://www.oprah.com/pressroom/Oprahs-Favorite-Things-Returns-to-Television?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_term=oprah+favorite+things&utm_campaign=oprahsfavoritethingsdesktop_oprahsfavoritethings
To learn more about the Military Spouse Award Program, visit the following link: http://msoy.militaryspouse.com/
For more on Erin's program: http://manykindregards.com/about/
For more on Mary's program: http://www.militaryspousejdnetwork.org/
To nominate a Military Spouse for 2013, visit the following link. Nominations for 2013 open on Sunday: http://msoy.militaryspouse.com/
Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
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