Inspired by others' generosity and kindness, Krista Simpson Anderson sought to help people the way she and her family were helped after her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Michael H. Simpson, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2013.
"Always lead by example and let your testimony be the light for others," Anderson said May 10, as she was honored as the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year, at the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore Annual Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.
"We are stronger together," she said, applauding all the military spouses who were nominated by their services as spouse of the year. "We all should be standing up here right now."
Anderson, the mother of two young boys, is active in the military community and is married to Army Master Sgt. Gus Anderson, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
"One day I was a military spouse. The next I was a military widow," she explained in her essay for the award. "Having remarried, I am once again a proud military spouse and I want other military spouses to see through my journey that we all have the strength to get through anything."
Anderson's husband applauded her for her selfless service and devotion to family and others.
"I'm not just proud, I am overjoyed," the Special Forces Green Beret said. "She works so hard, not only for our military family, but other military families, and there isn't a woman out there more deserving than her."
Anderson co-founded a nonprofit that supports veterans and Gold Star families, The Unquiet Professional, and works as a speaker to raise money for Folds of Honor, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to families of fallen and wounded service members, among her many activities.
Spouses Keep Service Members 'In the Fight'
"The United States Army is very, very proud of our military spouses," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said, noting the Army relies on the support from its 343,792 military spouses.
The spouses and the children have the hardest job off all, he said, as they are the ones who wait for their service member to return from deployments and dangerous assignments.
"These are the women, these are the men, these are the kids who sacrifice and volunteer and who keep us in the fight," he said.
Anderson's commitment to helping others, dedication to the military community and unwavering support for families of the fallen and wounded earned her the place as the Army's Military Spouse of the Year, explained Milley's wife, Hollyanne.
Annual Award Honors Military Spouses
Every year, Military Spouse Magazine conducts a contest with Armed Forces Insurance to pick a military spouse of the year for each service, and out of those spouses, one is selected as overall Military Spouse of the Year.
The gala event May 10 also featured Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and each of the service chiefs and their wives; Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Capt. Florent Groberg; singer Kellie Pickler; Super Bowl champion and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Terry Bradshaw; musician Jeff "Skunk" Baxter; Richard Petty and other NASCAR representatives; Ellyn Dunford, wife of Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Elaine Rogers, president and chief executive officer of USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore.