Trisha L. Smith

Branch: Air-Force

Duty Station: Westover-ARB

Number of Deployments: 1

Number of PCS's: 1

About the nominee: I am a mother of four beautiful girls. Our oldest is senior at Russell Sage College, our 15 year old and 13 year old are active in local athletics and honor students at our local school. Our other 15 year old, who lives with her mother, is a talented athlete and student, attending high school near her mother's home. I completed a Bachelors of Business Administration degree while working 40 hour weeks an hour and a half from our home, taking full class loads, and being a full time Mom. I possess my series 7 and series 24 licensures, and was the business manager of an investment firm, until the recent elimination of the position. My husband, Air Force TSgt John Smith, suffered a massive heart attack while on annual tour at McGuire AFB, preparing for his 3rd deployment last April. The quick thinking Airmen around him immediately started CPR, which lasted 39 minutes and included 3 defibrillations before transporting him to the hospital. I spent the next 14 days at his side, while he lay in a coma. I did not leave the hospital until he did, with the Grace of God, 19 days later. I accompanied him by Ambulance to a rehabilitation center in NY where I stayed with him in his room for the next 5 days until he was released to home. Thanks to our Military Family I was never alone. They ensured I ate, slept, and had the support I needed while still performing their jobs on base. This support was even remarked on by the hospital staff. The Head of Cardiology and Pulmonology stated he had never seen so many visitors come to see one patient in the 30 years he had been there. That's our Military Family.

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with our girls, playing basketball, as well as fishing and hunting with my husband and girls. I also enjoy entertaining our Westover friends and family in our home as often as possible.

Interesting Facts: I come from a Military Family and for many years I wanted to join the Military myself. During the time I was finishing my Bachelor’s Degree I was recruited to be a Naval Reserve Officer, but realized how hard it would be to support two Military careers and a family. I decided it was far more important to support my husband’s Military career, and now I try to do whatever I can do to help out our Unit and their families while acting as Key Spouse.

What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? I have truly learned the importance of support at home for every service member. I have discovered the “family” that is acquired by the bonds that are forged in the Military, the importance of these connections during especially difficult times cannot be overstated.

In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? As a Reserve Spouse, I find that one of the most difficult issues facing us is the lack of support. No matter how hard our amazing Airman and Family Readiness tries, they cannot fix the distance that separates us during deployments, rough times, and even the good times on non-Reserve weekends. The one weekend a month duty assignment makes it challenging for everyone involved to develop the relationships that Active Duty families have the ability to cultivate. When our spouses are deployed, we can find ourselves isolated, without a support system that truly understands our circumstances.

What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? Our extended Military Family! The people we have come to know are some the best in the world. They are there when we need them, and they are there when we think we don’t. They honestly are family to us all, our children even call some of them Aunt or Uncle. I have never known such a great bond to develop in such a short time.

What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I want to bring more assistance to our Reserve families. There is nothing harder on a Military Spouse then the isolation one experiences during a deployment. Any deployment is difficult; however, they are more burdensome on the Reserve Family, since many times there are hours of drive time separating you from a person that may truly understand your feelings. A phone call just isn't enough. The return of your Military Spouse can be even more troubling when they arrive and are understandably required to stay on base for two weeks, many families are hundreds of miles from base. This is a time when they need their families, and their families need them, yet they are only able to see their families for a short time and then are separated again. These servicemen and women are sent home to try and find balance again, in the civilian world, with their fellow deployers hours away, unable to give the needed support to help with the transition. This is the same isolation issue the Spouse experiences during the deployment. I want to bring assistance to these families, in any way possible. I want to bring the understanding that only other Reserve Families can offer.

Reasons for nominating:

The dedication she has devoted to the all the men and women in uniform. -- John L. Smith, Servicemember

I would like to nominate Trisha because she represents what it means to be military spouse. Recently her husband a fellow airman had a serious health condition that made him unable to deploy on our last round. While taking care of him she was also able to maintain her roll in the key spouse organization. She has been in contact with our troops deployed as well as all there families. She has put her self out there for any kind of support any of us would ever need. I hope that you can consider her for this honor at Westover Air Reserve Base. -- Daniel Masood, Servicemember