WASHINGTON D.C. --
Bianca Strzalkowski received the 2011 Military Spouse of the Year award May 5 at the Reserve Officers Association building for her efforts in the military community.
Strzalkowski, the Marine Spouse of the Year, was selected out of four other finalists, representing the four other branches of the armed services. Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Strzalkowski, Bianca’s husband and staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Sub-Station Garner, Recruiting Station Raleigh, 4th Marine Corps District, and VIPs from lawmakers to key persons in the military family were in attendance.
Bianca is a full-time student, mother of three and the sole volunteer for RS Raleigh’s Family Readiness Program, where she has organized a newsletter, meals for new military moms and training for families new to Marine Corps recruiting in RS Raleigh’s more than 40,000 sq. mi. of operational area. Additionally, she has served as a Key Volunteer Coordinator to combat units and traveled throughout the East Coast as a Lifestyle Insights Knowledge Skills mentor.
"To my husband, we started this journey as kids, very young in high school." said Bianca. "I remember when he showed me his Delayed Entry Program contract and I thought, 'I don't need to see that. I won't know him in a few years.' And today I stand here, with so many gifts from that decision he made so many years ago."
She accepted the award on behalf of the military families that were out there getting it done, challenge after challenge, Bianca said. “It is these families of the people who serve that allow us to have the freedoms of life.”
There were a number of notable attendees, to include more than a dozen members of congress, congressional spouses, dozens of the highest ranking military members, retirees, and military spouses. Military Spouse of the Year co-chair Bonnie Amos, also the spouse of Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, remarked about Bianca at the event.
“During our discussion we must have used the word 'passion' about 1000 times,” Amos said. “Bianca is passionate for all the right reasons.”
Bianca is not the only part of the Marine Corps family to be honored with a Spouse of the Year Award. One of the four runner-ups, Robert Duncan, is a former Marine, who served as an assaultman with 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, from 1989-1992. Duncan was recognized with the Navy Spouse of the Year Award for his volunteering activities with high school, Junior ROTC, auto hobby and marksmanship training.
“I couldn’t do it without the training I got as a Marine,” Duncan said. “They made me a man and a better husband.”
After the day’s luncheon, speeches and awards presentation were concluded most of the participants were on to their regular business, but for the military spouses of the year, they will be awaiting another recognition for their service – tea with first lady Michelle Obama.