Voting begins to select 2011 Military Spouse of the Year

11 Feb 2011 | Courtesy Military Spouse magazine

Military Spouse magazine announced the five military service branch winners for its 2011 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year award, and Bianca Strzalkowski, the wife of Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Strzalkowski, is representing the Marine Corps as the top Marine spouse.

Gunnery Sgt. Strzalkowski is the staff noncommissioned officer of Recruiting Sub-Station Garner, N.C., and Bianca has been by his side since the days he was a Marine prospect preparing for recruit training in 2001.

“To have an honor like representing the finest branch of the military was overwhelming,” said Bianca when she was selected as the Marine Spouse of the Year in January. “I love to serve; it is rewarding in so many ways.” 

The other branch winners for 2011 are:

Laura Vanderwerf from Novato, Calif., representing the Coast Guard, Megan Glynn from Jacksonville, Ark., representing the Air Force, Crystal Cavalier from Cameron, N.C., representing the Army, and Robert Duncan from Fallon, Nev., representing the Navy

The four women and one man were selected through an online vote held during the last three months. This is the first year that a male military spouse is in the running. 

“Our five branch winners are all amazing people and all very worthy of being Military Spouse of the Year,” said Babette Maxwell, Military Spouse magazine founder and executive editor.  “I urge everyone to get to know them and vote.”

Final voting began through the Military Spouse website Jan. 28. All Americans are encouraged to vote online at, where the profiles of the spouses are posted.  The final phase of voting will continue through March 2. 

The overall 2011 Armed Forces InsuranceMilitary Spouse of the Year will be announced and honored nationally in the June issue of Military Spouse magazine and at the fourth annual MSOY Awards Ceremony to be held May 5 in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  First Lady Michelle Obama and the spouses of generals, admirals, Congressmen, CEOs and ambassadors honored the 2010 Military Spouse of the Year at last year’s high-profile event.

The winner will make public appearances, write a monthly column to appear in Military Spouse magazine, and maintain a blog during the year, which will last through May 2012. 

The Military Spouse of the Year represents the millions of past and present military spouses who continue to thrive in a wartime environment, dedicate their lives and families to service of a grateful nation and give back to a community in need.

“By supporting our service members from home, military families give so much of themselves in the service of our great nation,” said retired U.S. Army Col. Tom Dials, chairman of Armed Forces Insurance, which sponsors the award. “We are pleased to once again be a part of the Military Spouse of the Year Award, which we feel is the ideal way to honor their service.”

For more information contact Barbara Pflughaupt at Barbara@bpmediarelations.comor (212) 707-8181 or contact Judee Cohen at judithdeecohen@gmail.comor (917) 721-0663.

Headquarters Marine Corps