The Few, the Proud, the Military Spouses of MacDill

The MacDill Enlisted Spouses Club welcomes home the JSCE, Nov. 12, 2010.

A nod to the U.S. Marines for a play on their message. Yet, I don’t think the Corps will mind especially if they have an opportunity to meet the women I did Tuesday night.

I was invited to be a guest speaker at the MacDill  Enlisted Spouses Club. Bottom line, I learned more from them than they could have ever learned from me. Most of them are parents, many have a husband deployed, others a spouse that just got back or is preparing to leave.

But, do not feel sorry for these women. All they ask for is understanding. ESC President Jackie Dorr wants non-military folks to know when her husband is deployed, as he is now, if her phone rings that takes precedent. She’ll stop a person in mid-sentence to take the call. Civilians need to know she’s not being rude, the call could be from her husband who might have tried for hours, days or weeks to get through from a combat zone.

So, Rule 1: if you know any military spouses, give them cell phone freedom.

These generous women shared some of their stories with me and many have agreed to share on this blog and in my radio reports. So, expect more rules or ESC suggestions on what non-military community should know.

The 2010 USO Toast to the Troops attended by many from the MacDill Enlisted Spouses Club.

Together, there were about two dozen ESC members and me. We laughed, sighed and told stories with occasional breaks by one mother or another to tend to a crying child. They shared a meal – buffet style. They watched over each others children dispensing hugs and discipline in equal measure.

Don’t be mistaken, this was not just a social gathering. This group of women works together and runs the club in a business like fashion. They raise money so children of deploying military can have a free “Daddy Doll,” a fabric doll with the photographic image of the child’s father on the front.

Members do community outreach to help other non-military organizations like the local food bank. Some volunteer to greet and handout “goodie bags” to all of MacDill’s returning Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines even if it’s 2 a.m. on a darkened tarmac. They have fun too planning socials and day-out events.

The group cares for each other and each others families. They share a mutual respect and a mutual mission to support their spouses.

I look forward to their stories and to learning much from this “Band of Sisters” as one new member called them.

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