Army spouse earns Hawaii award for unit, community dedication

| December 6, 2013 | 0 Comments
AIEA — Spouses from each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces stand on the field of the Aloha Stadium, here, Nov. 30, before receiving Hawaii’s Outstanding Military Key Spouse Award during the annual military appreciation night as the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program hosted the Army Black Knights to a football matchup. Erika Gronenthal (second from right), the wife of Capt. Victor Gronenthal from the deployed 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, was the Army’s nomination. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Spouses from each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces stand on the field of the Aloha Stadium, here, Nov. 30, before receiving Hawaii’s Outstanding Military Key Spouse Award during the annual military appreciation night as the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program hosted the Army Black Knights to a football matchup. Erika Gronenthal (second from right), the wife of Capt. Victor Gronenthal from the deployed 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, was the Army’s nomination. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Staff Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

AIEA — It’s one of the toughest jobs on the planet.

Kissing their loved ones goodbye for months or even years at a time is rough, but like in their Soldiers’ ranks, Army spouses lead, pull resources together, make decisions and are voices of direction and reason.

When the 130th Engineer Brigade headquarters deployed in August, the unit turned to Erika Gronenthal, the wife of Capt. Victor Gronenthal, for that leadership.

Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, congratulates Erika Gronenthal, an Army spouse who won Hawaii’s Outstanding Military Key Spouse Award, during the annual military appreciation night as the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program hosted the Army Black Knights in a football game at Aloha Stadium, here, Nov. 30. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, congratulates Erika Gronenthal, an Army spouse who won Hawaii’s Outstanding Military Key Spouse Award, during the annual military appreciation night as the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program hosted the Army Black Knights in a football game at Aloha Stadium, here, Nov. 30. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Developing pre-deployment strategies for Soldiers’ families and hosting get-togethers for spouses to meet and form supportive bonds are just a few of the reasons Gronenthal was awarded Hawaii’s Outstanding Military Key Spouse Award during military appreciation night as the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program hosted the Army Black Knights to a game at Aloha Stadium, here, Nov. 30.

This is the 10th consecutive year that the award’s sponsor, the Hawaii Navy League, has honored the outstanding spouses of a deployed service member.

“Erika has a big heart and is one of the most generous people that I’ve met,” said Lt. Col. Anela Arcari, commander, 130th Eng. Bn. (Provisional), 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

“We were blessed because Erika’s husband has been a commander before, and so she was familiar with how Family Readiness Groups (FRG) are run and their usefulness,” Arcari added. “She knew when they came to this unit that it was only four months before the deployment and realized that her role would be that much more significant.”

Since coming to the unit last year, Gronenthal has developed its FRG into a multi-echelon network of information and spousal support.

“I see it as a privilege to be the FRG Leader,” Gronenthal said. “It’s been such an honor to get to meet all these families, to develop these relationships and to be able to support them during a deployment.”

“Communicating to the families, getting the families together, having some fun, passing out important information — Erika was a leader in making that happen,” Arcari noted. “I think spouses appreciate the information that comes from the FRG. It gives an opportunity for veteran spouses to tell and show them what it’s like to go through a deployment.”

Gronenthal and her husband are on their third deployment, which makes her a veteran spouse and a well of information. She also has a son, with another on the way, making her an authority on children and pregnancy during a deployment, as well.

In the Army, the mark of a great commander is expressing legitimate care and concerns for the Soldiers and families in their unit.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Erika, in all that I’ve seen her do, cares as deeply for this unit as any Soldier in it,” Arcari said.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *