November is Military Families Appreciation Month, and the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Branch Spouses of the Year (Branch SOYs) want to help everyone, everywhere participate in thanking and honoring military families.
Americans love our military, but many people don't quite know how best to express their gratitude. As National Guard Spouse of the Year Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee notes, “saying "thanks" to our military families is something that many want to do, but are at a loss as to how to do it –or in the case of Guard and Reserve, how to find us!”
So the Branch SOYs created #30Ways of Thanks to help. Each day in November, the Branch SOYs will release a video with an action item that people around the country can participate in virtually or locally, individually or in groups. Participants can hash tag #30Ways so that their messages, photos, or videos are spread far and wide. Hash tags #GratefulNation and #MilFamsRock can also be added as a short-hand way to say “You are amazing, military families!” Best of all, the entire #30Ways video collection will be stored on the Branch SOYs' YouTube channel so that it can be repeated in Novembers to come, or whenever someone is looking for a way to say “thank you” to military families.
Why is November so important? It's the month specifically designated to honor those who support our service members the most. As Military Spouse of the Year Lakesha Cole (Marine Corps) explained, “while it's important to recognize those who serve, we must not forget the families that serve and sacrifice with them. The #30Ways Project is America's opportunity to extend our support, gratitude, and a helping hand.”
The #30Ways project is one near and dear to the Branch SOYs, because they know all too well the challenges of military life. "I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the friendship and support that I personally experience from my fellow military friends and neighbors,” said Tammy Meyer, 2014 Navy Spouse of the Year. “Working on this project was just a small way for me to express my gratitude, in hopes that it would be contagious and give others the opportunity to join in this month long celebration of military families.” Chris Pape, 2014 Air Force Spouse adds “humor is a powerful tool in tackling the challenges of military life because it can make things feel less daunting. And with #30Ways, it's the same idea; it gives everyone the chance to say 'thank you' in a very light-hearted and approachable way.”
For Reda Hicks, 2014 Army Spouse of the Year, who is a remote spouse, the project is about engaging across the divide. “Living in a city hours from any major military outpost, my experience is that people really want to support our military and their families, they just don't know how; they don't know what we need. #30Ways is about empowering the community to embrace military families, while honoring those families for their sacrifices.” Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee echoed those sentiments: “Being a Guard family, we are more likely to be found in YOUR communities rather than on any military base or installation. #30Ways is a simple but powerful project that will help you reach out and say thanks to military families in your community.”
#30Ways also gave the Branch SOYs the opportunity to work with some amazing partners in developing the video series, like National Military Families Association, Blue Star Families, In Gear Career, NextGen Milspouse, Military Officers Association of America,and Military Spouses of Strength.
Watch for #30Ways on social media and in your communities all month long, and be sure to let us know how YOU plan to say thanks this November!