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Navy League Honors Key Spouses

Honolulu, Hawaii -- Members of the Honolulu Council of the Navy League, along with the city's Mayor, friends and family gathered at city hall, Jan. 5, to celebrate and reward seven "key" spouses for their hard work in the military family community during 2006.

A "key" spouse is a spouse who functions as the main source of communication and organization for a command or unit deployed in a hostile theatre of operations. They are military spouses themselves and take up the leadership role to support their fellow spouses who are left when military family members are called into harms way.

There's a high operations tempo right now, so we have a lot of our spouses deployed, said Faith Cowart, the 2006 key spouse for 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines at Marine Corps Base, Hawaii. "We work really closely together to make sure the families have constant information from the front lines."

Currently her husband's unit is hitting their halfway point in Iraq.

A spouse from each of the five military branches and two National Guard Reserve key spouses all received a check for $1,000, a Navy League Certificate of Appreciation and a Letter of Acknowledgment from Mayor Mufi Hanneman. All nice thank-you's for the key spouses' efforts, but Cowart says the real reward is helping out the families.

"You want to make sure they know all the stuff you had to figure out so many years ago," said Cowart. You don't want them to struggle like you struggled, so you help them understand how everything works and help all the new spouses that come in.

President Theodore Roosevelt started the Navy League in 1902 to educate people on the need for a strong sea service. The 2006 Key Spouse awards is the third year in a row the Honolulu Council Navy League has worked with U.S. Pacific Command to honor its Hawaii-based Key Spouses.

2006 Honolulu Key Spouse Awardees Branch of Service

Renee Dvorak, U.S. Air Force

Maria Grimsley, U.S. Army

Gretchen Eastman, U.S. Coast Guard

Cynthia Hall, U.S. Navy

Faith Cowart, U.S. Marine Corps

Lynette Yee, Hawaii Army National Guard Reserve

James "Kimo" Palakiko, Hawaii Air National Guard Reserve