AFI Announces 2011 Military Spouse of the Year: Bianca Strzalkowski

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Armed Forces Insurance (http://www.afi.org) congratulates the winner of Military Spouse magazine’s 2011 “Military Spouse of the Year” award: Bianca Strzalkowski, wife of Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Strzalkowski of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The impact of Bianca’s volunteer activities within her husband’s recruiting district and on ‘sister service’ installations in North Carolina is simply stunning.

Armed Forces Insurance (http://www.afi.org) congratulates the winner of Military Spouse magazine’s 2011 “Military Spouse of the Year” award: Bianca Strzalkowski, wife of Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Strzalkowski of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“The impact of Bianca’s volunteer activities within her husband’s recruiting district and on ‘sister service’ installations in North Carolina is simply stunning,” said Col. Tom Dials (U.S. Army, Ret.), chairman of Armed Forces Insurance, which sponsored the 2011 award. “I’m struck by her commitment — asked to describe herself, she responded with, ‘I’m your friend before you know me; I devote my last energy to improve the quality of life of others.’ How fortunate we are as a nation to have people like Bianca in our midst.”

Strzalkowski, 31, of Fuquay Varina, N.C., was chosen from hundreds of nominees. A mother of three and full-time student, she has been a military wife for nine years and currently is based at Recruiting Station Raleigh, where she serves as the sole volunteer for the Family Readiness Program. Her many volunteer activities include organizing workshops and initiating programs, such as a meals program for new moms and training to help spouses understand the recruiting lifestyle. Strzalkowski has created a unit-specific newsletter and spoken at other recruiting stations about the benefits of a strong family readiness program. She also has served as a key volunteer and key volunteer coordinator to combat deploying units, in which she provides support to other military spouses preparing for a husband or wife’s upcoming deployment.

The award was presented by Col. Dials and 2010 Military Spouse of the Year Lori Bell at a luncheon and awards ceremony on May 5 in Washington, D.C., hosted by Military Spouse magazine and sponsored by Armed Forces Insurance. A winner was chosen from each of the five military branches, from which Strzalkowski was selected for the final award. The other four branch winners are Laura Vanderwerf of Novato, Calif., representing the Coast Guard; Megan Glynn of Jacksonville, Ark., for the Air Force; Crystal Cavalier of Cameron, N.C., for the Army; and Robert Duncan of Fallon, Nev., representing the Navy. These winners and their families were honored at the Washington ceremony and will represent their respective branches throughout the year.

“The services have made a concerted effort to foster a culture in which military spouses and families play a central role — that culture attracts and nurtures selfless, dedicated people to assume leadership roles in support of our servicemen and women and their families,” Dials said. “Our five branch winners stand as exemplars of the best that culture produces. All of us at AFI are proud and honored to play our part in recognizing the contributions of the military spouse.”

For more information about the 2011 Military Spouse of the Year award sponsored by Armed Forces Insurance, please visit http://www.milspouse.com/msoy.

About Armed Forces Insurance
AFI was founded in 1887 by military leaders with a single mission: to protect the property of those who protect our nation. The company provides premium quality, competitively priced property and casualty insurance to military professionals throughout the United States and overseas. AFI understands that its subscribers have unique circumstances and insurance needs, enabling the company to offer a level of personalized service that’s unequaled in the industry. For more information, visit the website at http://www.afi.org or call 1-800-495-8234.

About Military Spouse
Military Spouse magazine is the leading national magazine for the nation’s 1.1 million current and 20 million former military spouses. This monthly, high-gloss print publication serves as a resource for spouses to cope with and celebrate their unique lifestyle. Military Spouse encourages an aspirational lifestyle with relevant and entertaining articles about their world, including stories about job opportunities, parenting, health and fitness, relationships and family, and dealing with challenges like deployment. The magazine is owned by Victory Media Inc.

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Joyce DeLay