(image rights belong to www.nmfa.org)
So many spouses do so much in our military communities. Many even choose to extend out to their local communities making civic duty a part of their lives. The opportunities for volunteering seem to be never-ending. In my community alone, I have three groups that I routinely get updates from for volunteer work. We have various veterans’ organizations, specifically the American Legion and the Marine Corps League, as well as Blue Star Mothers and American Family Link, Inc. It warms my heart to see so many because my area is not heavily populated with bases or military families. It’s refreshing to know that even though this isn’t a military region, the community still wants to give back and support us and our service members.
With the goal to recognize outstanding volunteers in the military arena, the National Military Family Association (NMFA) is currently accepting nominations for the Very Important Patriot (VIP) award. Maybe that VIP is you or perhaps you know the perfect person to nominate. That person doesn’t have to be a spouse either, it can be an active duty or reserve individual. Even members of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are eligible for nomination. The individual must be 18 years old and exemplifying the spirit of volunteerism in some aspect of the military community.
According to the NMFA, “The Very Important Patriot (VIP) Award recognizes exceptional volunteers worldwide whose outstanding service contributes to improving the quality of life in their military and/or neighboring communities. Due to the challenges of the current pace of military operations, volunteers are playing an increasing role in providing support and stability in their communities. The role of active volunteers has become a critical element in mission readiness. We are thankful for those who have been serving the community for years and welcome the new volunteers who have answered the call to serve on the home front. NMFA and the VIP Award sponsors want to recognize those volunteers, old and new, whose selfless actions have made a lasting impact on their community.” Five VIPS will be recognized and there will also be 30 Award of Merit awardees. NMFA explains on their website that “Each of the five VIP recipients, and a companion, is flown to Washington, DC to be honored. During their stay in the Nation’s Capital, the VIPs receive an award of $1000, meet with senior leaders of their individual services, visit with their elected officials on Capitol Hill, and meet the generous sponsors of the VIP Award. Each recipient of an Award of Merit will receive a $100 commissary gift certificate.”