Can you spare a moment?

I don’t usually do this, in fact lately, I haven’t posted to the blog at all…..but I’d like to share an important contest that is going on and I would appreciate if you would vote for my friend.

Military Spouse Magazine elects a Military Spouse of the Year each year. At this time, the voting is to pick a winner from each of the branches of the Department of Defense. My friend Stephanie Geraghty has been nominated for the Marine Corps spouse of the year and I would love it if you would click here and cast a vote for her. You do not need to be affiliated with the military to vote, and you may vote as often as once an hour…..It does require you to register, and you have to receive a confirmation email before you can cast your first vote. I’d greatly appreciate it you have the time.

Stephanie is a good friend and the founder of the running group, Stroller Warriors. My involvement with this running group started in 2010 and it has helped me retain the small bit of sanity I have left. It is a wonderful group of women, and my life is much richer because of having gotten involved with them. It is this group that has motivated me to want to run races often. Most importantly, it has given me a place where I felt that both Maddie and I are accepted. We can run with the other moms and Maddie’s delays and disabilities don’t preclude us from being able to participate. There are other folks in the club who have children with special needs and it has been great getting to know them while running together. In 2011, Stephanie’s son Cole was diagnosed with SMA, which I know many SN parents are familiar with, primarily because of the great work the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation is doing within the SN community, especially Project Mariposa.

Here is an excerpt from her bio:

My dream was to establish a free running club that would help alleviate stress for military spouses. This club would provide a source of camaraderie, strength, and support. The club would welcome the inclusion of children, therefore encouraging a healthy lifestyle for them and ourselves. The club would also provide a means to work together and give back to our surrounding military community. In January of 2010, my dream became a reality. I scouted out trails and parks appropriate for our needs and advertised through local media. Word spread and Stroller Warriors has thrived ever since. In 2011 alone, we hosted 56 workouts, sustained 178 active members, and gathered 1400 total attendees. With each runner averaging 3.5 miles per workout, that amounts to 4,900 collective miles. We established two new chapters in New Orleans and Okinawa and will add more in 2012. On an international level we have over 400 members. Stroller Warriors strives to give back to the surrounding community, especially our military families. Each October, we host a 5K race to raise money for Bubba’s Belly Run. The 2010 Army Spouse of the Year Nicki Bunting formed this nonprofit organization in honor of her late husband, Capt. Brian “Bubba” Bunting, to benefit families of fallen service members. We have contributed over $4,600 to this incredible cause thus far. We also encourage participation in charitable local races, especially Run For The Warriors, a race held in Jacksonville each May to benefit wounded military veterans. In addition to racing, we donated home-cooked meals to a local women’s shelter and fed 25 women on a weekly basis. We also reinforced membership bonds by establishing a book club and supporting numerous members in completing their first race or marathon. To date, 13 members have completed the Marine Corps Marathon and five had deployed husbands, thus setting a tremendous example for other military wives to emulate. We’ve already had two successful years but we’re anticipating that 2012 will be our best year yet. This upcoming spring the club will run the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon to raise money for Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy in honor of Cole.

If you are kind enough to take the time to register and vote for Stephanie, I’d like to mention that the contest is accepting votes to pick a winner in each branch, there is a very deserving spouse nominated for the Air Force also. Click here to read his bio and vote for Jeremy Hilton. He left active duty to care for his daughter who has multiple disabilities, while his wife serves in the Air Force. He is a strong advocate for improving healthcare and programs to help military families with disabled family members. Hopefully his advocacy will pave the way for important improvements in the way the military takes care of children with special needs.

There are many deserving spouses nominated this year. I know I am inspired by reading their bios. I hope you will be too.

Thanks for your time! I do plan to write an update soon on how things are going for Miss Maddie.