30 Ways of Thanks

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30 Ways of Thanks

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30Still.jpgNovember 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!

See also...

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2015 'Thank You' and Year In Review

malemilitaryspouse_2015_YIRIt's the holiday season and to me that means spending time with family and friends while reflecting on the year that was. How many had a good year? How many of you feel as if you've accomplished, overcome, loved and laughed as much as possible? There have been a few bad years in my life where I just wanted the damn thing to finish so I could start fresh with a clean slate, it's a mindset, but we all know that reality doesn't work that way. I usually judge my life in a similar way as to how we judge football coaches, “what have you done for me lately.” My year was a good one, a net-positive. So congratulations, you get “happy Chris,” or at least “less grumpy and sarcastic Chris.”

The tremendous amount of progress within the male military spouse community is one reason why 2015 was a good year. Guys, we're finally starting to get some recognition. People, businesses, and other organizations are starting to approach us and ask for our input, insight, and yes, our business. Marketers are finally recognizing that we are a demographic worth pursuing; just check out this holiday spot from Toys R Us. (I just bought 4 gift cards for my nieces from them because of this commercial.)

In 2015, Macho Spouse was approached by the Sonoran Desert Institute's School of Firearms Technology to hold the first ever “Male Military Spouse Appreciation Day” where SDI donated a full-tuition scholarship to their popular Gunsmithing certificate course. (Male military spouses are a large demographic for them.) USAA asked for our participation to help raise awareness on the importance of life insurance during “Life Insurance Awareness Month.” Yeah, I didn't know that month existed before this opportunity either, but USAA sure knows that we exist! And Marriott really knocked us off our feet when they offered several nights worth of hotel stays in return for a few reviews on their TownePlace Suites properties. TownePlace Suites made it very clear that they are interested in helping military families who are on the road, from PCSing to family vacations, TownePlace Suites wants our business!  And it's not like this is some shabby hotel chain guys, their rooms are usually very spacious, clean, come with fully equiped kitchens, and hot breakfasts.  I was surprised to learn how many were actuallyl located near military installations, which makes them a great temporary housing option, or vacation get-a-way. In full disclosure, I dispersed their generous offering quietly among those guys who have helped keep Macho Spouse up and running over the last few years. We don't make any money here, so when a top-notch organization such as Marriott offers us some swag, I like to spread it out amongst our volunteers first. If you want access to some of this cool stuff, contact me and be prepared to help build our community. But while I'm speaking of TownePlace Suites, you guys should check them out because they're really showing their appreciation and commitment to our military community! That goes for USAA and Sonoran Desert Institute as well, these organizations aren't just talking about supporting male military spouses, they're actually doing it. So let's not forget to return this generosity in 2016.

While I'm patting others on the back, I can't forget the amazing content NextGen Military Spouse, Military.com/SpouseBuzz, and Military Spouse delivered on behalf of male military spouses in 2015. When I started Macho Spouse in late 2011/early 2012, there was nearly nothing…nothing, written for or about us male military spouses. No blogs, no websites, no Facebook pages, no nothing. Now look at us, male spouses are popping up everywhere! (We've probably had absolutely nothing to do with this trend, but I will take full credit.) So despite terrorism, politics, war, and racial unrest, life hasn't been all bad this year. It's been good enough for me to crack a cold one, light a cigar, sit back and reflect on how far we've come and how many goals are still left to accomplish. Don't worry, I won't be consuming and driving while reflecting, Dana and I have already booked our New Year's Eve room at the San Antonio Riverwalk TownePlace Suites. Happy 2015 everyone, have a safe holiday season!

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Video - MOAA Spouse

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The Military Officers Association of America is the nation's largest and most influential association of military officers.  It is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization.  They are the leading voice on compensation and benefit matters for all members of the military community, and are a powerful force speaking for a strong national defense and representing the interests of military officers at every stage of their careers.  Learn why male military spouses should pay attention and get involved with what MOAA is doing.



 

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