Earlier this year, it was a career Army spouse who was announced as the winner of The Williamsburg Winery’s military spouse appreciation giveaway. It was the least we could do to say thank you to all who have served in support of our servicemen.
We thought you should hear more about Maureen and the incredible sacrifice she’s made to the country as a military spouse – all through the lens and words of her husband, Steven Mains, who submitted her nomination.
Army wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, caregiver, Christian.
Maureen is all of these.
Maureen lives for others, always taking pride and gaining strength by their happiness and success.
Maureen married young and moved to Germany in the first of her 16 moves supporting a husband’s 30-year career.
Unfazed by being far from the warmth of Los Angeles and her large family, she threw herself into supporting the soldiers and their wives stationed on the snowy border between East and West Germany.
There, in sight of East German and Soviet soldiers and in the shadow of the Iron Curtain, she had two “Border Babies,” ran the wives’ club and ramrodded the German-American Friendship Club. The German-American Friendship Club had families who had escaped from East Germany before the Iron Curtain cut across Germany, separating families, friends and countrymen. Maureen introduced them to US families who were there to ensure that the Soviets advanced no further, resulting in life-long friendships.
Through international tensions and unannounced exercises when the soldiers would move to their wartime positions and the families would work through the procedures by which they would evacuate from the border to safer areas, Maureen made a home and supported the younger wives as they adjusted to the tense lifestyle.
When a pregnant, 16-year-old wife arrived with her soldier, Maureen rallied the company wives to help her through her pregnancy as a new family far from her home. When baby came, Maureen organized the wives to care for the child as the young mother completed her high school education that was interrupted by pregnancy, marriage and an Army move.
Moving back to the United States after five years of border duty, Maureen continued to support the community by running PTA fundraisers at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Her greatest challenge came on August 2, 1990 when Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait.
Maureen’s husband was a Cavalryman and one of the first officers trained in Arabic at West Point, so she knew that his place was deployed to evict Saddam and liberate Kuwait.
She supported him when he volunteered to go to war because, as much as the family needed him at home, she knew his country needed him and his talents more.
At 6 a.m., on a rainy day, Maureen kissed her soldier goodbye and took the children home, loving them and filling the role of two parents while unsure as to the future in store.
Although she wrote regularly and got irregular phone calls, it was a surprise when Desert Storm broke out and she watched daily TV coverage of the bombings and SCUD attacks knowing that the ground attack that her husband was a part of could happen any day.
Contact from her husband slowed as his unit moved into attack positions in the western desert of Saudi Arabia, but she continued to maintain a brave face for the children, with faith in God that her soldier would return home.
As Desert Storm continued for six weeks, she and the children prayed for her husband until she heard on the morning of February 24, 1991 that the ground assault she had feared had started.
As units were identified on the news, she followed the attack’s progress until she realized that her husband’s unit was the left flank of the famed left hook attack that encircled and destroyed much of the Republican Guard.
As she had feared, her husband was in the thick of the fighting.
With private tears and an outward smile, she took her children to school and assured them and his parents back in Los Angeles that all would be well.
She focused on her family and their emotional needs instead of her own. Her prayers were answered four days later when Iraq surrendered and hostilities ended.
She knew that her husband was still in Iraq and potentially in danger, but she knew the greatest threat was past. At that point, she jumped in to prepare for the homecoming that came two months later. When her husband returned, he had big news, they were returning to Germany.
Maureen again packed up, moved the family across the globe and made a life for them near Nuremburg.
There was no longer a contested border to protect, but long training deployments tested her resolve. She did what she always had – focused on the needs of others, running the Wives’ Club, building US-German relations and continuing to teach and love her two children as they grew.
After almost five more years in Germany, Maureen welcomed a tour in England and then back to the United States.
There were no wars on the horizon until the surprise attacks of 9/11 when she knew that she would again send her husband to war.
Nine years of deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo tested her faith and resolve but she continued to ensure her children, family and friends got the emotional support they needed while finding time to work as a Physical Therapy Assistant, helping elderly and infirm patients get back to physical and emotional health.
It is no surprise to anyone who knows her that her chosen profession would be one where she helps other people come back from adversity to be their best.
Through it all, she never said that her husband and her family had given enough. She always had more that she was willing to give for her country and the people touched by the evils of conflict.
She sent her husband to war and prayed for the day that he would return. When he did, she welcomed him back with love and faith as he prepared for the next deployment.
Now that her husband’s active service has ended, she supports her daughter and son-in-law as he builds his career as a Marine pilot, serving successive deployments to combat zones.
She revels in her role as grandmother, loving and teaching another generation of strong, well-grounded, faithful children. She is the ultimate role-model for her military-wife daughter.