Spouse of the year
What’s it take to be a military wife?
Just ask Meghan Wieten-Scott.
Military Spouse magazine recently named Wieten-Scott as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Military Spouse of the Year. She’s also in the running for the overall Army Spouse of the Year. That winner will be announced today (Thursday, Feb. 21).
Should Wieten-Scott win the Army branch award, she’d be up for the overall Military Spouse of the Year honor.
Unbeknownst to Wieten-Scott, her friend and fellow military wife, Jess Paden, nominated her for the award.
“That was very flattering and unexpected,” Wieten-Scott said.
Her time living in North Carolina, Missouri and Alaska has a common theme — volunteering both inside and outside of the base.
“Every place we have lived, I tried to find something that was local,” Wieten-Scott said.
In Missouri, her previous state of residence, Wieten-Scott worked with a child advocacy center and volunteered with the United Service Organizations. In Alaska, she helps feed elementary students by packing lunches at The Children’s Lunchbox.
That’s in addition to working part-time as a program manager at Blue Star Families, a non-profit that supports military families.
Wieten-Scott also recently became a mother when she and her husband, Cpt. Andrew Scott, adopted their son, Matthew, three months ago. The couple is currently in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia.
Wieten-Scott met her husband, a member of the 6th Engineer Battalion, in 2004 at a gathering between both families, who are friends. Andrew, then in college at the United States Military Academy, should have returned to school following spring break — but a snowstorm kept him in Michigan.
“It was fated,” Wieten-Scott said.
The couple married in 2007 and moved to Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Just six months after tying the knot, Andrew deployed for a 15-month tour in Iraq. Believe it or not, his time overseas strengthened the young marriage, Wieten-Scott said.
“It helped us as a couple,” she said.
Being forced to only talk during the deployment, the couple learned a lot about each other, Wieten-Scott said.
Deployment is often one of the most difficult aspects of military life. But, Wieten-Scott said, it all depends on your attitude.
“You choose to survive a deployment or you thrive,” she said.
Wieten-Scott chose the latter.
With her husband overseas, Wieten-Scott took up running. She has since competed in three half-marathons.
Connecting with the community and making the best of her situation was crucial to making it through those 15 months, she said.
“I just really found ways to get involved,” she said. “Just getting to know my fellow Army wives.”
Because they’re constantly moving, Wieten-Scott said, employment is another struggle military spouses face.
Wieten-Scott, who started working with Blue Star in Missouri, said she was fortunate to keep her job despite relocating to Alaska.
“It’s so hard as a military spouse to have a job that you can progress in and maintain when you move,” she said.
Though she had no connection to the military before meeting her husband, Wieten-Scott has embraced her new life.
“I fell in love with it,” she said. “I love the sense of community it brings.”
The family aspect and traditions also appeal to her, Wieten-Scott said.
“I have found some really awesome mentors in the women who have come before me,” she said.
Wieten-Scott is now sharing her knowledge with new military wives through her work with a Family Readiness Group, which provides support for family members of her husband’s unit.
Wieten-Scott doesn’t volunteer so much of her time for the recognition — which is what made being named JBER’s military spouse of the year all the more flattering.
“I was honestly completely humbled,” she said. “I just really am speechless.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727