Misawa spouse earns PACAF recognition
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- After Muriel Cedillo was awarded Pacific Air Forces Spouse of the Year during a ceremony here March 28, she was slow to give herself enough credit.
"I only do what I love to do," Cedillo said, "nothing more, nothing less."
Cedillo is the spouse of Tech. Sgt. Jacob Cedillo, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron propulsion systems craftsman and 13-year Air Force veteran. The couple has their own little zoo of children, consisting of five boys and one girl, all between ages 1 and 13. Muriel learned of the nomination while adopting three of their six children during a visit to the U.S. in January.
During Cedillo's time in the U.S., Lora Christensen, key spouse mentor, worked alongside husband Lt. Col. Rognald Christensen, 35 AMXS commander, to prepare Cedillo's award-winning package.
Cedillo provided support for nearly 400 military personnel, led monthly spouse's socials, volunteered as a tour guide for Misawa newcomers, organized appreciation dinners and fundraisers for the squadron, and volunteered countless hours to numerous base activities, families and organizations.
Lora described Muriel as "the kind of person that lights up a room," and said she is probably easily embarrassed by all the praise and recognition she's received because of her selfless humility.
Cedillo has been a key spouse for the 35 AMXS for more than two years, and emphatically stressed this recognition was not earned alone.
"Being a key spouse is not a one person opportunity; I have had so much support from other key spouses," said Cedillo, who is one of 11 key spouses in the squadron. "Our leadership here has fully supported any idea we shouted out to improve morale and get maintenance families together to build camaraderie ... I accepted this award on behalf of all maintenance spouses."
The script of success this past year for Cedillo and fellow key spouses was laid out by their mission to reach out, involve, encourage and raise morale of the families of maintainers - a job that Cedillo admitted can be frustrating and challenging at times.
Being a spouse of a maintainer means facing countless temporary duty assignments, deployments, shift work, and sometimes spells on the job lasting far more than 12 hours at a time.
"That can take its toll on a family, and I wanted to be a source of encouragement for families," Cedillo said. "I wanted to make sure they were well informed and knew what resources they had available to them. I believe in family and I just want to encourage other spouses."
Christensen said Cedillo understands firsthand the crazy hours maintainers work, and still she has never heard her complain.
"Muriel has a rare energy about her and loves helping people," said Master Sgt. Wenesday Traylor, 35 AMXS first sergeant. "She connects with people and lights up a room when she walks into it."
Cedillo said she has worked hard to build a family-like setting where spouses can build rapport with one another before their loved ones are tasked with deployments and TDYs.
"If (the spouses) can make life at home happier for service members, I hope that will also translate to the workplace," said Cedillo. "We have all become a family. I don't want anyone to be left out."
"I already know she's amazing, I am very lucky," said Jacob. "So it makes me feel good that everyone else can see just how awesome she is. I couldn't be more proud of her."
Cedillo will next compete for Spouse of the Year at the Air Force level.