Okinawa wife selected as Military Spouse of the Year
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va., May 9, 2014 – Lakesha Cole, the wife of Okinawa-based Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Deonte Cole, was selected today as the Military Spouse of the Year.
The award, given by Armed Forces Insurance and Military Spouse Magazine, honors spouses who support and maintain the home front.
Cole thanked her mother, daughter and the Okinawa community, as well as her husband who is based at Okinawa’s Camp Butler. “He’s always been my biggest cheerleader for any crazy idea that I come up with.”
She said she was honored to represent military spouses all over the world and to help them bring their ideas and dreams to reality.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos presented Cole with a certificate of commendation and expressed his gratitude to her on behalf of all Marines.
“We couldn’t be more proud of you. You’re representing all of us in here -- all of the spouses and the services.”
“Your husband may wear this cloth,” Amos said of the Marine Corps uniform, “… but for today, we’re all part of the joint community.”
On hand for the event were members and spouses of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as each military service’s nominee for the award.
“It’s a great day to be a military spouse,” Deanie Dempsey, wife of Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. “And thank God, we now have a day designed to honor all military spouses.”
“The six spouses here today that we will be honoring -- representing each of the services -- has gone above and beyond what every great military spouse does,” Dempsey said. “They’re even greater if you can believe it.”
They represent all military spouses, she said, and while we’re only awarding six today, truthfully, there are many more out there that deserve this award.
“So those six of you have to feel pretty darn good,” Dempsey said. “You represent the best of the best. Congratulations to all.”
Mary Winnefeld, wife of Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained the criteria for the finalists.
“Our military community is perhaps one of the closest knit families stretched out all over the world,” she said. Each of our branch finalists separated themselves through efforts to better the community and give others the tools to do the same.
“These spouses truly distinguished themselves as great leaders in the military,” Winnefeld said, “and will continue to accomplish great feats.”
The 2014 Branch Winners are:
2014 Army Spouse of the Year – Reda Hicks
2014 Marine Corps Spouse of the Year – Lakesha Cole
2014 Navy Spouse of the Year – Tammy Meyer
2014 Air Force Spouse of the Year – Chris Pape
2014 Coast Guard Spouse of the Year – Danielle Medolla
2014 National Guard Spouse of the Year – Ingrid Herrera-Yee