Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

 President Bush Commemorates
Military Spouse Day
and presents the
President's Volunteer Service Awards

On April 17, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation recognizing Military Spouse Day.  This observance was established to acknowledge the impact military spouses have on the readiness and well-being of service members, and to honor their volunteer service in educational, social, and community endeavors.  In May 1999, Congress passed a resolution designating May as National Military Appreciation Month.  During this month, the United States observes Memorial Day, Victory in Europe 

Day, Armed Forces Week, and Military Spouse Day, which is held annually on the Friday before Mother’s Day.

Shannon Maxwell, United States Marine Corps Spouse
(Jacksonville, North Carolina)

Shannon Maxwell’s husband, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Maxwell, was severely wounded in Iraq after shrapnel from a mortar attack left him with a traumatic brain injury in October 2004. As a result, Mrs. Maxwell co-founded Hope for the Warriors, a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for service members and their families who have been affected by injuries or death in the line of duty. Mrs. Maxwell organizes annual fundraising events to benefit men and women wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families. She has been instrumental in working to bring the first Fisher House to a Marine Corps Installation. She secured temporary adaptive housing for visiting families of the wounded at Camp Lejeune and created the Wounded Warrior Spousal Support Group for military families. Shannon and Tim have two children.


National Military Family Association

Military Family Members, Service Members Recognized with Volunteer Award

NMFA Names 2007 Very Important Patriot Award Recipients


ALEXANDRIA, VA September 26, 2007 — Each year the National Military Family Association (NMFA) administers the Very Important Patriot (VIP) Program that recognizes exceptional volunteers worldwide who are so giving of their time. NMFA is pleased to announce the 2007 five Award of Merit, five Award of Honor, and five Very Important Patriot Award recipients.

This year five service members and ten Family Members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will receive one of the three awards from NMFA. Any active duty, National Guard and Reserve, or retired service member of the seven uniformed services, their Family Members, and survivors are eligible to be nominated. All recipients receive a cash prize and the VIP Award winners also win a trip for two to Washington, DC to be honored at an awards dinner with the program sponsors and senior military leaders.

The recipients of the 2007 Very Important Patriot Award, $1000 prize, and trip to Washington, D.C. are:

MA2 Alexander Bates, U.S. Navy Service Member, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, CA At an early age, MA2 Bates made the decision to be a positive role model to young teens. Most recently, Bates has dedicated his time to mentoring and assisting troubled youth through a volunteer program at a second-chance school for adolescents. His efforts have helped reduce delinquency and increased community safety by helping high-risk youth and their families become positive contributors to their community.   


Toni Caragiulo, U.S. Navy Spouse, U.S. Naval Hospital Naples, Italy Mrs. Caragiulo is directly responsible for bringing the Navy COMPASS program to Naples, ensuring that spouses have a resource to learn about the Navy and to connect with other Navy spouses. She has also served as the Ombudsman for two area commands. Additionally, Mrs. Caragiulo led many activities that strengthened relations between the Navy community and the local Italian community and supported the education system of military children.


Ginger Dosedel, U.S. Air Force Spouse, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH  After years designing and creating custom clothing to fit over the leg braces her son often wore, Mrs. Dosedel decided to use her expertise to aid wounded service members. At the suggestion of her son, Dosedel redirected her sewing talents and started Sew Much Comfort. Sew Much Comfort is a nonprofit organization that makes adaptive clothing for wounded service members to help them maintain their dignity and independence after a life-altering injury. Her clothing line is now being shipped worldwide.   


Shannon Maxwell, U.S. Marine Corps Spouse, nominated from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC, now at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA Mrs. Maxwell turned her family’s personal tragedy, the serious brain injury of her husband while serving in Iraq, into a triumph for military families. Maxwell co-founded Hope for the Warrior, a nonprofit organization aimed at giving hope to wounded service members and their families through constructing transition housing for families who have a wounded service member, providing educational support for spouses, and responding to special requests that have a meaningful impact on the spirit of the wounded or their families. 


SSgt Ricky Saldivar, U.S. Marine Corps Service Member, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, TX SSgt Saldivar was able to escape the gang violence that was prevalent in his neighborhood when he was growing up. After joining the Marine Corps he didn’t forget the importance a good role model made in his life. To “pay it forward,” Saldivar volunteers his time with a gang prevention program, juvenile detention center, and local food bank. His efforts set him as an example of someone who can make a positive impact on the community.