They are the men and women who stand silently behind our soldiers, sacrificing daily for our freedom and security. From raising children on their own to fearing for their spouses’ safety, being married to a member of the Armed Forces is full of challenges. However, as every military spouse will tell you, it is also full of rewards. Serving our country is an honor, and the community of military families supports each other like none other.
FOX News is honoring four military wives who serve our country in their own way every day and have made it their mission to nurture the military community.
Recently we caught up with Connie Campbell, creator of Combat Creations -- a scrapbook supply store for military families. Through her own husband's deployments, Connie managed to bring spouses and families missing their loved ones the joy of creating. Read what she had to say about being a military spouse!
FOX Fan: What does it mean to you to be the spouse of someone in the military?
Connie Campbell: I feel honored, tired, empowered, frustrated… does that make sense?! To be a military spouse, I feel like I have to be more flexible than I ever imagined I’d have to be. It’s hard not being in charge of our immediate destiny, but it’s so rewarding knowing that we’re truly serving our country and making a difference.
FF: How long has your husband served and in what capacity?
CC: My husband is an active duty CH-46 Helicopter Pilot & was commissioned a Marine Officer in May 1994. He’s served as a pilot both on land and from ships, as a Forward Air Controller, and as an Instructor. He’s served five overseas 6-month deployments in our ten years of marriage; twice to Iraq.
FF: What is a military spouse’s biggest challenge? What is the greatest reward?
CC: The biggest challenge for our family is the lack of a consistent routine in our daily lives. Once we start to feel settled, a move, training, or deployment comes up and everything changes again.
The greatest reward is knowing that our commitment is a positive contribution to our country.
FF: What unique issues present themselves in a military marriage? How do you handle them?
CC: The biggest issue for me is having to be a single parent and a supportive wife while my husband is deployed. I remind myself that this is a temporary sacrifice, and it’s very important that I handle it well because I have four little guys watching me.
We’ve been able to experience the extremes of every emotion together as a family. My husband and I feel like our four boys will know that sacrifices, though hard, are necessary. And with that knowledge, they will be less selfish and hopefully become positive contributors to our society.
FF: What do you love/respect most about your spouse?
CC: I love his passion and respect he’s always had for the Marine Corps. He always dreamed of becoming a Marine Pilot, like his father, and he worked hard at making his dream a reality. I also admire how he talks about his Marines. It’s with the same love and respect he has for our family.
FF: What one thing would you like other Americans to know about those serving in our Armed Forces and their families?
CC: I would like all Americans to understand that this profession is completely voluntary, and those who’ve chosen to serve should be treated honorably. Our freedoms lie on the shoulders of those who have made this sacrifice willingly.
FF: What does being an American mean to you?
CC: Being an American means that I have been given an opportunity to live with the free will I was born with, and I have the freedom to become anything I choose.
FF: What's the mission of Combat Creations?
CC: Combat Creations™ exists to equip military families with supplies, ideas, and techniques for preserving their unique experiences in original, meaningful and creative ways.
FF: Why is it important to provide military families a creative outlet for their feelings?
CC: For some, creating is like therapy. It’s emotional. Whether celebrating a family member’s service, honoring a fallen hero, or comforting a friend and fellow spouse, it’s emotional. It was important to me to have a place where military families felt free to open up about their daily lives to military spouses who truly understand what they’re going through. We’ve had moms, wives and girlfriends come into the store with the intent to “find something cute” and end up letting go of their courageous shell for a moment and open up about concerns they have. We’ve felt exhausted sometimes listening to other peoples problems on top of our own, but we also feel a sense that motherly military advice was put to good use. I’ve had over 15 active duty spouses on the Combat Creations team, and at least one husband was always deployed. The storefront naturally became an emotional and creative outlet.
FF: When you were starting your business, why was it important to you to tie it into the military community?
CC: There was a need. I searched for military scrapbook items everywhere I went and found little to nothing. The few stores that did carry military items typically didn’t know what the items signified. Knowing that the military community will always exist, and that it’s not a trend, I felt these products needed to be continually available to our communities to help commemorate our country’s heroes and preserve our nation’s history. I started out focusing on Jacksonville, N.C. as a retail military scrapbook store and now, four years later, my main focus is manufacturing and distributing military scrapbook items to retail stores all over the country and helping them recognize the military families that live in their communities... even if they’re not located near a military installation.
We are all given the opportunity of life, and it is up to us to make the best of it. However, making the best of it is challenging due to the daily hardships we face as military spouses. Having a military family, raising four boys and owning my own business consumes most of my energy, and often makes me feel like I’m losing my mind! But, I love every minute of it because it shows me that I am capable of accomplishing anything…we all are if we choose to. Combat Creations™ celebrates the military life and helps me make the most of mine. I have taken this wonderful opportunity to do what I love and love what I do!
Click here to find out more about Combat Creations™!
Plus, have a military spouse you want to mention? Tell us about that special someone by sending us an email!