WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 – The wife of an Air National Guardsman who created support groups for military families and businesses has been selected as the 2013 Military Spouse of the Year.
Alicia Hinds-Ward, the spouse of Air Force Tech. Sgt. Edwinston J. Ward of the 113th fighter wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., was chosen among more than 2,000 nominees and presented with the award today during a ceremony held at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va.
Hinds-Ward co-founded the Joint Base Andrews Business and Community Support Group that reaches out to military business owners, and she also started a spouse forum at the base to educate military families about benefits. She also has presented National Guard issues before Congress.
“What I hope to do within the next year is bring more attention to our National Guard families, our unique circumstances, our unique situations and actually have more attention paid to the plight of our families,” Hinds-Ward said in accepting her award.
She said the unusually heavy reliance on National Guard members during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan took a toll on reserve component forces, noting she expects to use her new role to highlight how repeated deployments have placed stress on National Guard members and their families.
“The conflicts of the last 12 years have placed us in a position we have never been before,” Hinds-Ward said. “We were created to take care of the homefront; we take care of the world. However, our resources have not kept up with the demands placed on us.”
Hines-Ward also is the 2013 District of Columbia Spouse of the Year, and she has worked with the Wounded Warrior Program, and supports service members and family members in obtaining Social Security disability benefits.
The Military Spouse of the Year Award is presented by Military Spouse Magazine to honor the contributions of military spouses of all ranks and services. Candidates were selected through a combination of online voting and a panel of judges.
The service-level finalists for this year include:
— Tara Crooks, spouse of Army Maj. Kevin Crooks, Fort Sill, Okla.;
— Alisha Youch, spouse of Navy Cmdr. Daniel Youch, NSB Kings Bay, Ga.;
— Karen Guenther, spouse of Marine Corps Col. Glen Guenther, MCB Quantico, Va.;
— Verenice Castillo, spouse of Air Force Maj. Tony Castillo, Maxwell, AFB, Ala.; and
— Shelley Kimball, spouse of Coast Guard Capt. Joe Kimball, 7th Coast Guard District, Miami.