FORT LEE, VA. --The 2019 Heroes at Home Military Spouse of the Year for Central Virginia was announced at a celebratory luncheon in the Lee Club May 16.
Wisteria Usera – whose husband Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Usera is a senior drill sergeant at 16th Ordnance Battalion – was selected as the top honoree out of 10 Fort Lee spouses nominated.
The Heroes at Home program, hosted by Military Newspapers of Virginia, was launched in 2005 with a goal of “showing appreciation to spouses for their steadfast support of military members, their families and their communities,” said Billy Garland, solutions architect for Virginia Media, publisher of MWVA, and the master of ceremonies for the event.
Garland reviewed the numerous accomplishments of the 10 honorees including volunteering countless hours assisting in area schools, athletic leagues, churches or charitable organizations, leading and serving in Family Readiness Groups and much more.
“This class of 10 honorees represent the epitome of what it means to serve,” noted Garland who recognized each of the nominees. “Too often, the sacrifice and strength of military spouses goes missed, and it is an honor to be a part of an organization and event series that highlights these unsung heroes. Our 2019 Heroes at Home winner, Wisteria Usera, logged countless hours of community involvement – focused on improving the communication between and networking within the military family community. Her work shows a tremendous understanding of the old adage that ‘we are all stronger together.’”
He continued, “She went above and beyond to ensure military families had the support and community they deserved. We are so blessed to have had her as a nominee, and even more so to have her work supporting those who serve.”
Still overwhelmed with her honor and wiping away tears as she spoke with the Traveller, Wisteria said, “I am shocked and honored. There are so many other spouses who do so much. I don’t think what I do is that extraordinary. I just like to get things done. I really enjoy being the 16th Ordnance FRG advisor for all the companies, not just Delta (her husband’s unit). I have been able to reach and make friends with many spouses and give them ideas to help them through their FRG experiences. They have done some really good events.”
The honoree has known her husband of 11 years since she was four years old while growing up in Rapid City, S.D. They have a two- and four-year old. Her husband has been in the military for 17 years and at Fort Lee for two years as of August.
The Heroes at Home award included a seven-night Mexico resort vacation and $2,000 in cash to use for flights and other associated costs. The prize was provided by USAA, the primary corporate supporter of the program.
Pamela Northam, wife of Governor Ralph Northam, was a special guest at the ceremony. In brief remarks, she described what it was like to be a military spouse. Her husband served eight years of active duty and rose to the rank of major as an Army doctor, deploying to Germany treating Soldiers wounded in Operation Desert Storm.
“You are all strong, creative and resilient,” Northam said to the honorees. “Every nominee is a winner. For the governor and myself, one of our highest priorities is supporting military families.”
The guest speaker was Latorial Faison, a poet, author, educator and military spouse who is married to Lt. Col. Carl Faison, G1, CASCOM. Faison is award-winning poet and author of 11 books. She related many inspirational and amusing stories including finally unpacking some wedding gifts after many moves during their 25 years of marriage.
“Writing poetry was stimulated by my being a military spouse and FRG leader,” she said. “I never knew what I was doing as a FRG leader was a big deal until later. While I am a poet and author, I always want to be introduced as a military spouse.”
Heroes at Home nominations can submitted by anyone in the military community. For more information, visit www.militarynews.com/heroes-at-home.