Three NC Army wives saluted for service
Posted May 11, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The wives of three members of the Army living in North Carolina were recognized Friday for contributions they've made to their communities.
Rebekah Sanderlin, Malinda Cox and Catherine Woyee-Jones were honored at a ceremony at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan was among a number of service members, military families, elected officials and Fort Bragg leaders on hand for the awards presentation by Community Blueprint Network.
"If you spend five minutes with a military spouse, you see firsthand the strength and selflessness that these people possess," Hagan said. "It is you, our military spouses, who are the foundation that allows our brave warriors to complete each mission, and while your husbands and wives are deployed, you are here at home … taking care of the family."
Woyee-Jones manages two nonprofit groups, The Human Initiative, which helps fight childhood obesity through a healthy lifestyle, and The Hope Project, which helps military families in need of wellness support and financial assistance because of family crisis.
Her work is inspired by her personal experience of fighting depression and weight-gain while her husband was deployed overseas. She lost 118 pounds.
"I felt like I became an emotional eater, and through that, I decided to use my life as a message to the world," she said.
A native of Liberia in West Africa, Woyee-Jones is married to Maj. Courtney Jones and has three children, ages 15, 13 and 9.
Sanderlin conceived and spearheaded a soon-to-be-released public service announcement called "This Country Cares," which recruited dozens of country music performers to film a message of hope and support for members of the military community in crisis.
She is a writer and editor for CityView magazine and has written essays and commentaries for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Self Magazine, The Huffington Post and National Public Radio.
She and her husband, Bob Sanderlin, have three children.
Cox has been raising money to establish a monument for the 525 Lightning Brigade, based at Fort Bragg, which has lost 67 soldiers since its inception in the early 1940s.
She serves as president of the nonprofit group, Lightning Friends and Family Memorial Organization, which is working to raise $50,000 by early summer to have a monument unveiled on Veterans Day this year.
"That's my heart, and I'd really like to see that come to fruition," Cox said. "That's what I'm working toward."
Cox is married to Capt. Robert Cox. They have two children, 14-year-old twins.
"We do this as a team," she said. "Even when he's gone, it's still about teamwork – keeping the family going and taking care of the kids so that he can do his mission."