Military spouses’ contributions, impacts are recognized

| October 22, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photos by
Lacey Justinger
Managing Editor

The 2010 Hawaii’s Outstanding Military Spouse Awards, sponsored by the Hawaii Navy League, honored eight spouses from the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, Hawaii Air National Guard, Hawaii Army National Guard and Special Operations Command at the University of Hawaii football game, Saturday. Nani Kainoa (second from the left) represents Hawaii Army National Guard spouses, and Dawn Workman (second from the right) represents Army active duty spouses. HONOLULU — The tens of thousands of screaming fans who filled Aloha Stadium cheered as eight women took the field and received honors in the 2010 Hawaii’s Outstanding Military Spouse Awards at a University of Hawaii football game, Saturday.

This year is the fifth the Hawaii Navy League has honored spouses of deployed service members with a $1,000 check “to recognize the dedication and incredible support of some of the military’s finest … (who) have functioned as the volunteer communication and organizational focal points for units that were or are still deployed.”

Two Army spouses were honored: Dawn Workman, family readiness group leader, 74th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd Ord. Battalion, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command; and Nani Kainoa, with Na Wiliki FRG Ohana, Company A, 29th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Hawaii Army National Guard.  

According to the Navy League, “Quite simply, they are the glue that holds the deployed families together.”

“(Workman) is being recognized for dedicating time and effort to support Soldiers and families, the large amount of hours volunteering, and working above and beyond to keep everyone informed as the unit is deployed and downrange,” said Maj. Kenneth Sosa, rear detachment commander, 303rd Ord. Bn., 45th Sust. Bde. 

Workman hosted a pre-deployment series that prepared families for the upcoming deployment in areas such as legal, finance, Tricare, housing, Army Community Service programs and the Blue Star Card program.

“It was what I would have liked as a new spouse, someone to help me navigate the system and point me in the right direction,” she said. “Eleven spouses are facing their first deployment, and seven have been married one year or less. 

“I want families, spouses and Soldiers to be proactive rather than reactive and take advantage of the resources available,” she said. “We may not be called to action on the battlefield, but we have to be prepared to take action on the homefront.”

“I do wish my husband could have been here to share in such a special moment,” Workman added. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to serve and help others. I am very proud of him, our Soldiers and families.”  

Maj. Aaron Workman, company commander, is currently deployed to Afghanistan and is “extremely proud of what Dawn has accomplished.” 

Army musicians play alongside the University of Hawaii band during the pre-game and halftime portions of Military Appreciation Night events, Saturday, during the football game between UH and the University of Nevada. Teams, attendees and local leaders honored outstanding military spouses, wounded warriors, service members and the military bands. He said: “She has worked very hard on (the families’) behalf and dedicated a significant amount of time to ensuring that our families are prepared for the rigors of … deployment. She is willing to give so much of herself for the benefit of others.

“Sacrifices made by military families are as significant as those made by the service members themselves,” he added. “I can never adequately express my appreciation for what families in our nation’s military do on a daily basis.”

Kainoa, was also chosen for her FRG contributions during her husband’s (Sgt. Paul Kainoa)  yearlong deployment, which included compiling care packages, coordinating family activities, making welcome-home lei, hosting a welcome home barbecue and creating a newsletter.

“I played a small role; this is a small portion of the entire unit,” she said. “My being (here) is an extension of the families. I represent them. They deserve this and should be recognized for what they do, as the families support the Soldiers.

“FRGs are an extension of the families; we help them through crises, with communication and support,” Kanioa added. “I’m so glad to be a part of the military family and to support Soldiers and families.  

“I’m proud to be a part of a larger military family,” Kanioa said. “I’m thankful for the military and for the freedoms that we enjoy today because of those service members.” 

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