It's Time to Nominate the 2016 Military Spouse of the Year

It's not just an honor, a fancy title, a fun luncheon, or a way to meet neat people. The Military Spouse of the Year and branch winner awards, organized by Military Spouse Magazine, are a door to bigger, better things for the spouse community. And now is your chance to nominate someone to be the next winner.

Check out what past winners have done. Corie Weathers, an Army chaplain's wife who won in 2015, just finished a trip to Afghanistan with the secretary of defense during which she was able to get an inside view into how that kind of travel impacts military marriages. That's groundbreaking. Jeremy Hilton, an Air Force spouse (yup, and a dude), who won in 2012 has continued to make major waves advocating for better healthcare for military kids. People pay attention when he talks. Lakesha Monet, a Marine Corps spouse stationed in Japan and the 2014 winner, owns a successful small business, has actually managed to operate it legally on base -- a feat of nature  -- and coaches other spouses on doing the same.

Nominating a friend (or yourself -- we won't tell) for the Military Spouse of the Year award is about more than just giving someone a thumbs-up for hard work and dedication to the military community, It's about giving spouses with the will and ideas to make good things happen the contacts to do so. Plain and simple: the program opens doors to places that spouses may never make it on their own, and that's a very good thing.

Corie agress with me.

"With all of the challenges that could prevent success or stability, military spouses often rise above and become leaders in their community. Nominating a spouse for MSOY is not only a way to thank them for their selfless service. It is a way to gift them with the opportunity to expand their circle of influence, breaking the ceiling of what they thought possible in the military lifestyle," she told me. "All of our spouses deserve a thank you, nominating a special spouse and your life is a way to say thank you for rising above."

So how does this whole process work?

First, you nominate. To do that go here. Easy. Nominations are only open until January 15, so get cracking.

Next, candidates are revealed. On January 20, Military Spouse Magazine will publish a full list of the candidates, including any bio info and photos candidates have uploaded.

Then, voting. Narrowing down the candidates to first a representative for each base, district or state (depending on how your branch is structured) will be done by a popularity vote January 21, with winners announced January 25. Then a panel assembled by Military Spouse Magazine will do some work and announce the top 18 finalists chosen from among those base, etc. winners. Next, a popularity vote will once again be held on February 4 to help determine the branch winners from among those top 18. Finally, on March 3, you will be able to vote for the ultimate winner.

At last, the reveal. The Military Spouse of the Year 2016 winner will be announced at a fancy-pants luncheon just outside Washington, D.C. on May 5. We, of course, will be there to bring you the inside scoop (it's just what we do).

So - you ready to get going? 3... 2... 1... nominate.

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