Duty Station: Eglin-AFB
Number of Deployments: Deployments: I have supported my husband through Fourteen Major Deployments – covering every conflict from 1988 through present. Being both mom and dad for the missed birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and the better part of our three children’s early years of life. Case in point, our youngest son (Zach), now a SGT in the United States Marine Corps, was born in October of 1992 and my husband deployed two weeks later in support of the Operations in Somalia, Haiti, and Iraq – spending 283 of the next 365 deployed. I have also supported my husband through numerous short detachments and extended travel.
Number of PCS's: Permanent Change of Station orders: Thirteen (13). Three tours have been to overseas countries and remote locations. (Guam, Hawaii (Kauai), Japan)
About the nominee: I have spent the last fifteen years working with disabled military children in a variety of school systems and settings. I’ve raised three amazing kids that have all followed in their father’s footsteps and joined our military.
Hobbies: Prior to my husband’s disability, I was an avid Triathlete and adventure seeker. Spending time with our kids while we explored our new duty stations and all they had to offer. Supporting our kids in their quests to find their sense of purpose and roles – sports, education, career, life goals. My current hobbies are central to spending time with disabled veterans and their families - including Grandparents advocating for those service members, their benefits, and providing sage and much needed guidance, counsel and assistance during and after their active duty time has ended. It is a newly discovered passion that I enjoy and find both satisfying and gratifying. I think of it as paying if forward – for my kids and all those young veterans who need help navigating the waters of life, the military, and life after the military (including those with disabilities).
Interesting Facts: An interesting fact about me is I have a spouse in the military and three children serving as well. All in different services. Our oldest (Robert) is a Captain (Signal Corps Officer) in the United States Army, our middle child (Auriaunna), is a 2nd LT (Navigator) in the United States Air Force, and our youngest (Zachary) is a SGT in the United States Marine Corps who has just completed his 2nd major deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). I also have a son in law in the Airforce and have just welcomed to the ranks as a military spouse- my new daughter-in-law.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? Something I’ve learned from being a military spouse is that home is where your family is – I have made several moves without my spouse and have learned that anything is possible through the support of your Military family – which is usual people who are going through the same struggles as you and provide an amazing support group to help you not only face challenges of being a single parent (while your spouse is deployed), but to also succeed and enjoy the things that you do have – lifelong friendships. I have also learned through our stays at Walter Reed and Richmond VA that a military spouse can be one of the strongest and selfless men/women I have ever encountered. The pure drive and tenacity I have seen displayed in support of their active duty spouse is indescribable. I am proud to say I am a military spouse.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? One of the most important issues facing military families’ is the struggle associated with change. Whether it be due to a PCS, a deployment, or the unforeseen injury, death, or illness of their service member. Programs such as for example: Navy safe Harbor or Military Family Life Counselors need to be advertised and connected more with military families. Those two to name a few are crucial in assistance in a time of crisis. Educating our families on what resources are out there is crucial in a military spouse being able to juggle the needs of the military and their family successfully.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? One of the best aspects of being in a military family is you learn to persevere through anything. e.g. Typhoons in Guam, droughts in Nevada, being a minority on a remote Hawaiian island (Kauai), NOT HAVING A WALMART OR INTERNET for two years. Most of all it does take a village to raise a child. We are not alone and that is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in the past 28 years.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? One thing I want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title is share my experiences and testimony with others – reassuring them that there is no greater honor that to serve country as a spouse – highlighting that not only is it a vital role for the well-being of the family – but it is a vital role that allows the active duty service member to focus on serving our Great Nation and protecting our civil liberties – without worrying about who is taking care of the home front. The Invisible Men/Women – behind the scenes making it all possible. Once again this is a trait that I have witnessed first-hand with our experience. Military families extend well past the spouse and service member. Parents and Grandparents can be touched and educated by military spouses.
Reasons for nominating:
I've known Carrie for over 10 years now, but most personally within the last year and a half. I spent some time growing up with her kids while stationed on a mutual military base and have watched her raise her wonderful children ever since. Carrie has the biggest heart and is the absolute epitome of a military spouse. She is selfless, loving, nurturing, and above all the strongest mother and wife I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. While Carrie vowed her love to her husband many years ago, she has recently devoted her entire life to be by his side every minute of every day due to her husband's recently diagnosed TBI. Due to this unforseen circumstance, Carrie left her work and life passion of working with and teaching kids. She now spends day after day making sure the love of her life is comfortable, safe, healthy, and above all loved. She has supported her husband Rob through 30 years of serving his country in the Navy and has never once wavered to be the support he needs behind the scenes. I believe Carrie deserves this recognition for her unending, sacrificial , and life altering love and support she provides to everyone around her on a daily basis. Thank you! -- Sammi Larkin, Friend
Carrie has always been a very supportive in my brothers military career but she really stepped up when my brother was Diagnosed with a TBI and has been relentless in his medical care & treatment. She gave up her career to be there 24/7 to care for my brother and has been an active advocate on local & state levels to bring awareness to TBI. She really takes her vow for better or worse to the next level. -- Amy Weatherford, Friend
Carrie is actually my sister but there was no selection for family. Carrie has basically given up her life to take care of her her husband (still active duty) who has a traumatic brain injury. She has given up her career, her goals, her health, and most interactions with anyone except doctors and others related to her husbands care. She has no family near her to lean on, she never gets any "time off" and his command is no help, and yet she still keeps going. -- Alisa Williamson, Friend
Carrie Fry was our secretary for 18 months prior to her resignation to become the primary care-giver of her husband Rob, who sustained a life changing, traumatic brain injury (TBI) while on active duty two years ago. Since giving up her own career, she has become his advocate for medical, emotional and governmental support through numerous hospital stays and while navigating through new adaptive technologies. Together, they have become activist/spokespersons at the local level for better support for veterans with BTI. They have partnered with our local congressman to bring these issues to light and to work towards improvements for all of our wounded warriors. She perseveres with him through the difficult daily routines and has used her Exceptional Student Services (ESE) strategies to help him navigate through the “new normal.” She is strong and determined and is a true hero to those of us who watch her live out their marriage vows of “for better, for worse” as a devoted military spouse. While this is a small sample of her attributes, I nominate Carrie Fry as the Military Spouse of the Year 2017 and can assure you that she is most deserving. -- Dennis Samac, Employer
She is amazing in every way. My junior high sweetheart and the mother of three amazing children - all of which serve our great Nation each in a different service (USA/USAF/USMC). I have recently been diagnosed with a TBI and a degenerative brain disease. I can no longer drive or work, and my lovely bride of 27 years continues to forge our future and persevere through it all. She manages our home, cars, finances, my myriad doctor's appointments (to include driving me to Walter Reed, MD from Florida because I have trouble flying now-a-days. She is tireless and selfless. She never gets a break because she is always doing something for me - networking with Semper Fi fund, Wounded Warrior Project, and other Non-profits to ensure I get access to resources to improve my quality of life... the list goes on and on. She is Wonder Woman, Mother Teresa, and Joan of Arc - all rolled into one. She embodies the very best of the Navy's core values: "Honor-Courage-Commitment" and " the marriage promise of "...in sickness and health". She is truly Amazing in every way -- Robert Fry Sr., Servicemember