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Rhiannon Knutson

Branch: National-Guard

Duty Station: Minnesota

Number of Deployments: 3

Number of PCS's: 3

About the nominee: I met my husband, Tom, 2 months into my freshman year of college. We got engaged 15 months later and married 5 months after that. We have been together for 13 years and married for 11years this year. We have 4 amazing children, 2 boys and 2 girls. Coyle is 11, Bennett is 9, Aloara-Dannin is 7 and Elise is 6. I have been a stay at home mom since Coyle was born and love every minute of it! I lead my first Family Readiness Group (FRG) just before my husband left on his first deployment. I knew nothing of the military and his unit consisted of 140 families. I have been either a leader or volunteer with every FRG since then. I love being able to help other military families! I have been the FRG leader of my husband's current unit for the last 5 years. It's like having a second family and I love it! My husband is currently deployed, and will be returning later this year. I am active in our local Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community and spend all of my time either volunteering with military families or at my children's school. I have my Associate of Arts Degree and will be continuing on with my Bachelor's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy this fall. My goal is to be a Marriage and Family therapist for military families.

Hobbies: My hobbies are leading the Family Readiness Group, volunteering at my children's school, and volunteering with the Parent Teacher Association at my children's school. I also enjoy cooking and reading whenever I get the chance to!

Interesting Facts: An interesting fact about me is that when I met my husband and he told me he was in the National Guard I told him I would never date someone in the military. He proved me wrong as we got married just over a year after we met and have been together ever since!

What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? Something I have learned from being a military spouse is that my true passion lies with helping military families. I have always enjoyed helping people, and I love helping other couples and families that are going through similar experiences to what we have. I have learned that even going through an identical experience everyone learns something different from it and it only helps us to grow by sharing those experiences with others.

In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? In my opinion, one of the most important issues facing military families is community support. With so many different branches of the military, sometimes the community is not aware of the military families around them. Having the support of the community a military family is living in makes it easier to transition through pre and post deployments, reintegrations, or moves. When the community is involved it allows the military families to reach out for help or the community to reach out to the families to provide help.

What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? One of the best aspects of being a military family is the lifelong friendships that are made. To have friends that know what you are going through and will drop everything no matter how big or small an issue you may be facing. You have the comfort of knowing that these friends will always have your back, regardless of anything that happens.

What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? With the Military Spouse of the Year title I would like to bring more attention to the National Guard families. Not being on a base, even when our soldiers are serving on active duty, makes it difficult for families to have access to resources that are more readily available to the active duty families.

Reasons for nominating:

served as our FRG for over 5 years and has stood by our Soldiers and Families all the way thru Operation New Dawn, Operation Freedom Sentinel & Resolute Support, National Training Center rotation, and so much more! She also goes over and beyond by sitting on the Warrior 2 Citizens BTYR Committee ensuring we all stay connected with the resources available to us. -- Michael Rehbein, Servicemember

Rhiannon goes above and beyond . . . always. She even shovels the driveway and sidewalk of my disabled veteran brother who resides in her community. -- Elaine Wagner, Friend

Rhiannon Knutson has served as our FRG for over 5 years and has stood by our Soldiers and Families all the way thru Operation New Dawn, Operation Freedom Sentinel & Resolute Support, National Training Center rotation, and so much more! She also goes over and beyond by sitting on the Warrior 2 Citizens BTYR Committee ensuring we all stay connected with the resources available to us. She has vested her own money for small purchases (Don't tell CW2 Knutson), and always ensures our Christmas Parties and Summer Picnic's happen without incident. In addition to all that she works tirelessly to support her children at school, volunteers with PTA and keeps the medical appointments no matter what the weather. She is a rockstar! -- Julie Carpenter, Friend

She is always looking after and thinking about others before herself. continually helping other guard members family. -- Craig Blake, Friend

Rhiannon Knutson has served as our FRG for over 5 years and has stood in every way possible. She is deeply invested and gives everything she's got to her "extended family". She has kept the unit FRG going from deployment to home station and back to deployment status. She absolutely deserves to be considered for this award. -- Julie Woelfel, Servicemember

Rhiannon is my cousin, and seeing her raise her four kids with her husband by her side has been amazing, but seeing how well she does even when Tom is away is even more amazing. I'm not too close with her, but I know she works her butt off and deserves to be recognized for it. -- Signe, Friend

Even with a special needs child and three others all 9 and under. She still carbs out time to support all the functions, other military families, sit on committees and take care of her family while her husband is overseas -- Cheryl Blake, Friend

Never sees her husbands absence during service as a burden on her or her kids, she sees it as a blessing to this country. She is amazingly strong and proud of her military life -- Anna Taplin, Friend

She's an amazing woman, mother, and supporter of the armed forces. She is the most selfless and strong woman. Puts herself on the back burner to make sure her children and husband are taken care of. She keeps military families connected and offers support to each and every one of them. She puts so much time and hard work into this as well. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this. -- Samantha Hanson , Friend

Puts her husband's service and family first before anything else -- Kristina Theis, Friend

Rhiannon is a dedicated FRG leader, wife & mother. She is always willing to put everyone's well-being ahead of her own. She is an extraordinary wife, mother, sister, & leader. She deserves this more than anyone I know. -- Ambrosia Blake, Friend

Mrs. Knutson (Wife of CW3 Tom Knutson) has served as the Units Family Readiness Group Leader for over 5 years and two deployments and one NTC rotation. She constantly outperforms and ensures every Soldier and every family is taken care of. -- SFC Mark A. Wood, Servicemember

She is always available to help families and puts together multiple military get togethers to keep the families connected -- Crystal Pace, Military-Spouse

Rhiannon Knutson has served as our FRG for over 5 years and has stood by our Soldiers and Families all the way thru Operation New Dawn, Operation Freedom Sentinel & Resolute Support, National Training Center rotation, and so much more! She also goes over and beyond by sitting on the Warrior 2 Citizens BTYR Committee ensuring we all stay connected with the resources available to us. She has vested her own money for small purchases, and always ensures our Christmas Parties and Summer Picnic's happen without incident. -- William Pace, Friend

As an FRG leader, Rhiannon works tirelessly to ensure that all of her soldiers and families are taken care of. If there's any problem she will not stop until she has found a solution. She organizes wonderful events for soldiers and families. She always puts others needs first. She is an amazing person and leader. -- Chelsey, Military-Spouse

Rhiannon is an amazing FRG leader. Despite the everyday challenges of being a mom to 4-kids, and having her husband deployed multiple times overseas, she runs our company FRG flawlessly. She is 110% committed to bringing families together - through deployments and when our soldiers are home. Rhiannon organizes meetings, activities and events throughout the year. She keeps families updated via Facebook, email and newsletter – so we’re never left wondering. Rhiannon continually makes families feel welcomed and included. We truly are the epitome of a strong FRG thanks to Rhiannon. I couldn’t think of a more deserving person to receive this award. -- Angela Corbine, Military-Spouse

Loyal and dedicated to the success of the FRG program -- cody madden, Servicemember

She has been the FRG Leader and supporter of every Servicemember and family member in B company 2-211. She has not only fulfilled the expectations of an FRG Leader, but has gone above and beyond with her time and talents in every event, training and deployment. She certainly has earned great respect form all in her company and others that work with her across the state. -- Lillian M. Forseth, Colleague

Mrs. Knutson (Wife of CW3 Tom Knutson) has served as the Units Family Readiness Group Leader for over 5 years and two deployments and one NTC rotation. She constantly outperforms and ensures every Soldier and every family is taken care of. -- SFC Mark A. Wood, Servicemember

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