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Posts Tagged ‘TBI’

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This week I am happy to introduce Beatriz Giraldo, a young Army spouse and mother of three who has received consecutive Folds of Honor Foundation/ThanksUSA Scholarships totaling $6000. Beatriz is currently in her sophomore year of military management and acquisition studies at American Military University and is looking forward to a career assisting the military community.

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Beatriz is very familiar with the United States Army and her military pride is evident. Her father is a retired soldier and her husband, SGT Juan Giraldo, has served in the U.S. Army for almost ten years. She has first hand knowledge of the sacrifices military families make everyday to ensure that their soldier performs at his or her best.

“It is not the same to watch or hear about soldiers getting deployed as it to experience it in real life,” says Beatriz. “The emptiness a person feels the moment the plane takes off, taking with it the people who you love to a far and dangerous country can be devastating. On the bright side, as a result of deployments, strong bonds are built and people develop more resilience. My family and I have made numerous sacrifices because we are a military family. However, at the end of the day I am proud and thankful to be part of an organization that is dedicated to sacrificing so much to protect and create a better world for people worldwide.”

Though most of us, certainly ThanksUSA supporters, appreciate and understand the sacrifices of our military families, some employers are not so understanding. Like many military spouses, Beatriz has suffered the scorn of employers for taking too many personal days. These “personal days” were actually the result of being in at a new duty station with no extended family nearby, a deployed husband, and three sick children to tend to.

Because of experiences like this, Beatriz hopes that her degree will lead to a career with a military-friendly atmosphere. Ideally, she will secure a position with the Department of Defense or another military supportive organization. “My goal is to ensure that regulations, programs, and benefits are in place and implemented so that the company that I work for can be considered one of the top military-friendly companies to work for,” adds Beatriz.

Though the education of our ThanksUSA scholars is the focus of our blog, Beatriz also has some advice for those families who are supporting their injured service members. In 2009, SGT Giraldo sustained injuries during combat in Iraq. His courageous actions that day earned Sgt Giraldo a Purple Heart. “I can write a whole novel about how proud I am of my husband,” says Beatriz.

Beatriz has recently begun to accompany Juan as he seeks treatment for TBI and PTSD. She advises spouses to attend as many medical appointments and therapy sessions as possible.

“By attending these meetings, I have gotten a better understanding of what it is that my husband has gone through. Knowing such things has enabled me to be more understanding and also to know what I need to do or change to provide better support for my husband. Also, last week when one of the doctors was interviewing my husband, I would pitch in information that my husband was leaving out because of his lack of memory. At the end of the interview the doctor mentioned that he wished that wives accompanied their husbands more often because they were able to get a better understanding of everything that was going on, and in return could provide better help for the soldier.

Another piece of advice that I have is to remember that even though our spouses are injured, they are still the same people we fell in love with. With dedication, perseverance, and more than anything love, there is no reason why other spouses can’t grow old with their spouses, which is what I intend to do.”

Beatriz, the ThanksUSA team wishes you and Juan a very long, healthy, happy life together…may your Military Pride continue to shine through as you earn your degree and begin a career supporting our men and women in uniform! We leave you with a few words of thanks from Beatriz:

“I want to thank ThanksUSA and the Folds of Honor Foundation for awarding me two scholarships. In addition, I want to thank these organizations for having such programs available for military spouses. As many people know, the monthly income of a military family does not always go very far. However, thanks to organizations like ThanksUSA and the Folds of Honor Foundation, spouses like me nationwide are able to pursue their educational dreams. The sense of accomplishment and pride that I feel when my kids see me doing homework and realize the importance of college goes beyond anything words can describe.”

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