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NEWS | May 16, 2013

FFSC recognize Military Spouse Appreciation Month

By Seaman Jason Pastrick Naval Nuclear Power Training Command Public Affairs

The Fleet and Family Support Center at Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station, along with the Men-Riv Park Navy Wives Club, invited all JB Charleston military spouses to a cake and ice cream social in recognition of Military Spouse Appreciation Month May 10, 2013.

Nearly 50 servicemembers' spouses attended the event held in building 755 Attendees used the opportunity to network with other military spouses and also learned of the various services provided by the Fleet and Family Support Center.

"We wanted to thank the spouses for their patience, understanding and support," said Cmdr. Marquis Patton, Navy Support Activity Charleston executive officer. "Our spouses understand the pressures our Sailors are under, and it's important we recognize them."

"It's not a dress-up type event," said Hazel Cole, Men-Riv Park Navy Wives Club vice president. "We want spouses to come as they are and just enjoy the party."

While providing information and resources to spouses is a primary goal of FFSC, it is events like this one that afford spouses the opportunity to network with other spouses and make connections they would otherwise not make.

"The JB Charleston FFSC offers several services to families and spouses, such as financial counseling, communication classes and networking opportunities," said Angela Cottman, JB Charleston FFSC Work Life consultant.

"It's nice to meet other spouses because they know what you and your spouse are going through," said Chelsea Blankenship, wife of a Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit staff member. "Our [spouses] work so hard and so much, so it's great to come together as a group."

Military spouses sacrifice time with their service member, proximity to friends and family, and sometimes their own careers. Just as shipmates support each other in the fleet, it is important for military spouses to have a similar support system in their community.

"I know first-hand how challenging it can be to take care of yourself and your family when you're separated from your military spouse," said Cottman. "My father was in the Army for 26 years and was always deployed. I witnessed the sacrifices and challenges my mom went through as a working spouse."

The FFSC is slated to hold a Military Spouse 101 class June 12, where attendees will receive training in finance, benefits, communication with their spouse and understanding military jargon and acronyms.

"I just want them to know we're here for them," said Cottman. "They're not alone."