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.
Tricia Dyal is the perfect example of a spouse giving back both to her community and to those in need. Find out how she feels about being able to comfort children in military families!
FOX Fan: What does it mean to you to be the spouse of someone in the military?
Trisha Dyal: It often means sacrifice and the camaraderie of other military families who help you pull through the tough times, but it always means pride: Pride in your husband's service, love of country, and pride in being a part of a communtity that makes a difference.
FF: How long has your husband served and in what capacity?
TD: My husband is now in his 14th year as a Marine and is serving on an operations staff.
FF: What is a military spouse’s biggest challenge? What is the greatest reward?
TD: The challenges that come to mind are that every day is a juggling act as a military wife. The hardest thing is trying to be everything to so many people. Being a mommy to my two beautiful girls first, a multiple business owner and especially a good wife and head of household when he is away. Wearing so many hats can be exhausting! The greatest reward is knowing that what you do matters. I mean, it may not be a matter of national security, but you do feel that it means something. I love being a Marine wife and feel blessed to live the life I live!
FF: What unique issues present themselves in a military marriage? How do you handle them? How do they strengthen your marriage/family?
TD: Deployments are very hard because we are forced to handle everything alone. I will say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. During a deployment not only do I appreciate him so much more while he’s gone, but he appreciates me more for what I’m doing, which is keeping our family and home life happy and healthy while he is away. I want him to know I love him and can handle all that comes my way, even if at times it may come down to choosing between clean laundry, sending a happy email overseas, or staying on top of the business. I feel like that being in a military marriage is one of a kind. We appreciate each other and we sacrifice so much. We have to rely on each other so much more than what I imagine in a non-military marriage.
FF: What do you lovemost about your spouse?
TD: That is an easy one... his devotion! He gives 100 percent to everything he does. He is a devoted father, husband, son and Marine. He's my hero!!
FF: Describe Operation Hug-a-Hero.
TD: At any given time, there are several hundred-thousand mommies and daddies deployed in the service of our country. Separation from those parents can lead to tremendous anxiety in children. Operation Hug-A-Hero™ is a non-profit organization that reaches out to these children in need. We provide a FREE Hug-A-Hero™ doll to families who cannot afford one or who have lost a loved one in the line of duty.
FF: How do you help your children cope when their father is deployed? How do you keep him present in their lives?
TD: The biggest focus is a happy home, with a stable routine, and trying to keep daddy part of every day. We started with pictures and countdown calendars and charts when they were young to eventually developing Daddy Dolls, which are stuffed dolls bearing the image of daddy and allows this as a huggable reminder that daddy may be gone, but he is also right there next to them.
FF: What does it mean to be part of the military community? Why is it important to you to reach out to and work within this community?
TD: Camaraderie between military famlies is like no other. There is always support when you need it. What’s wonderful about living in the military community is we’ve all been there and know what it’s like to be at wit's end, trying to keep the train on the tracks when Daddy's away "chasing the bad guys". We provide support to each other and lean on one another for that support. Again... all I can say is that I'm blessed to be part of such a wonderful family.
FF: What is one thing you'd like other Americans to know about those serving in our Armed Forces and their families?
TD: That there are service members out there who have volunteered to stand up when our country asks. Each has a family that is affected in ways small or large with each dangerous mission or even routine night away. It would be great if more people thought about that commitment not in a "I feel sorry for those poor families" kind of way, but in a "what can I do to support my neighbor or community" way.
FF: What does being an American mean to you?
TD: Incredible freedoms, prosperity, and opportunities that must be protected and preserved for our children and beyond.