Great Mom Prize Giveaway

"Great Moms" award program winner Michelle Liens, and Fort Lee Commissary Manager Kim Soares, pose with a replica $2,500 gift card that was presented Tuesday at a ceremony inside the commissary. Representatives of the Armour and Smithfield food companies spoke at the event, saying their organizations believe moms are the "unsung heroes" of this nation who deserve more recognition than one day dedicated to them each year. They launched the Great Moms contest in April and Liens was the first military mom it recognized. Also pictured is Liens' husband, Pfc. Raymond Liens, and their three children.

FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 27, 2016) -- The spouse of a Kenner Army Health Clinic junior enlisted Soldier received a free-grocery prize valued at $2,500 during a lunchtime ceremony Tuesday at the Fort Lee Commissary.

Michelle Liens, mother of three, said she was “taken completely by surprise” when a representative of the Armour food company – the award sponsors – called her forward for recognition. “I had no idea I won,” she said. “They told me I was a runner-up and asked if I could attend to show my support. When they said my name and invited me up front, it was a total shock. I was shaking through most of the ceremony.”

Describing what the prize means to her family, Michelle said she and her husband, Pfc. Raymond Liens, have struggled with finances – partly due to the pay scale associated with his rank and limited time in service, but also her choice to be a stay-at-home mom who isn’t contributing to their income.

“With our budget, we’ve always had to decide what we can afford to put on the table and how to make groceries stretch as far as possible, which isn’t easy with kids who are always hungry,” she said. “This prize means not having to worry about that for a while. Also, we’re coming up on the holidays, so it’s a blessing from that aspect as well. There’s no doubt this is going to help us tremendously.”

The title accompanying the free-grocery prize is what Pfc. Liens and representatives of the Armour Company and the Defense Commissary Agency headquarters focused on while discussing the significance of the ceremony.

“She is definitely a great mom for putting up with the hardships of military life while handling these three handfuls all day,” her husband said with a glance at his children, ages 8, 3 and 8 months. “What she does in the way of supporting me and this family cannot be measured. She’s a very understanding and upbeat person. I’m so proud of her.”

Saying her company is honored to recognize the sacrifice of military spouses, Sharnell Weathersby, brand manager for Armour, said she hopes to see many similar ceremonies in the near future.

“We started this in April, and have already spotlighted many strong, inspiring individuals … coach moms, teacher moms and stay-at-home professionals,” Weathersby said. “This is our first military mom, and we hope there are many more. Their sacrifice for this country must be acknowledged and celebrated.”

Sallie Cauthers, a DeCA mass communication and marketing specialist, said her organization is working with corporate supporters to create additional opportunities of this nature.

“We’re trying to stimulate year-round opportunities to recognize a greater number of our valued patrons,” she said. “That’s what this ceremony represents, and it’s a very exciting time for the Commissary family.”

Many contests and giveaways are tied to the Commissary Rewards Card, Cauthers emphasized. She encouraged authorized patrons to regularly visit www.commissaries.com for announcements about opportunities to win.