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2004 VIP Award of Merit - Caroline Peabody

2004 VIP Award of Merit - Caroline Peabody

Caroline Peabody - VIP Award Recipient

Fort Monroe, VA

Caroline Peabody, Army spouse, Fort Monroe, Virginia, has been named one of five Very Important Patriot Award of Merit recipients for 2004. Cash awards of $250 are mailed to the nominating agency for presentation to the Award of Merit recipients.

The VIP Program recognizes fifteen exceptional volunteers worldwide. Five Very Important Patriot, five Award of Honor, and five Award of Merit recipients are chosen for their outstanding service, which contributes to improving the quality of life in their military and neighboring communities. Active duty, guard, reserve, and retired members of the seven uniformed services and their family members and survivors are eligible to receive the awards.

Time is precious for military spouses. Some, facing the difficult and unpredictable demands of military life, have adopted the belief that the best way to take care of themselves is to take care of others. Caroline Peabody is one of those unique individuals.

Caroline, an army wife and a daughter of a disabled Vietnam Veteran (USMC), has over thirteen years of outstanding volunteer service. Her family life and years of working with a VA Hospital in Pennsylvania gave her understanding and appreciation for those who have served.

She works to make a difference. Initially, Caroline, a mother of four, volunteered with the Virginia Beach Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children - better known as the WIC Program teaching and performing as an on-call breast-feeding counselor. She helped spouses at all hours, including those going through childbirth alone while their husbands were deployed.

The next permanent change of station (PCS) was to Georgia where Caroline provided respite childcare for deployed families at her church and led scouting activities for young girls of enlisted families. She developed and donated a community website for military families to the city of Hinesville. As a member of the Military Affairs Committee, she created, coordinated, and implemented an Adopt-a-Unit program serving over 10,000 deployed soldiers of Bosnia and Kosovo.

Caroline's unrelenting spirit and tireless commitment to help improve the lives of military families led her to teach Army Family Team Building classes and join the Enlisted Spouses Club where she coordinated community information fairs. She also helped the veteran population by volunteering with community outreach programs.

She was the Family Readiness Group Leader for her husband's unit providing leadership and support to spouses during deployments. She also is an ongoing volunteer for the Army's Family Action Plan (AFAP), Girl Scout leader and youth director for her community family programs with her church.

During her husband's hardship tour to Korea, Caroline not only cared for her own family, but others as well. This included relocation to Minnesota to care for her mother-in-law. There, despite the distance, Caroline maintained supportive relationships with other spouses whose husbands were in Korea. Upon completion of her graduate degree, Caroline created The Military Family Network - an online community information website designed to help members of the military and their families. She also volunteers as the Internet Open Directory Editor for the Military Family Support category.

Caroline is a dedicated advocate for military families. She attends well-being conferences and forums through AFAP to discuss and learn about issues and needs affecting the state of the military family. She supports military spouses of soldiers deployed to Iraq through letters, e-mail and telephone calls.

Caroline has received numerous awards including the United States Army Patriotic Civilian Service Medal, distinguished volunteer awards and a Resolution from the City of Hinesville.

Caroline's volunteer contributions have increased the well-being and readiness of the military family. NMFA is honored to name Caroline Peabody as a Very Important Patriot Award of Merit recipient for 2004.