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Buckley woman named local, AFSPC 'Spouse of the Year'

Mrs. Meredith Muhs, above left, stops in to visit and share a laugh with the new manager at the Buckley Thrift Shop, Mrs. Diane Herrlman.  Mrs. Muhs was named Buckley Air Force Base Spouse of the Year, then Air Force Space Command Spouse of the Year, and will now compete at the Air Force level for the same honor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mrs. Barbara Atwell)

Mrs. Meredith Muhs, above left, stops in to visit and share a laugh with the new manager at the Buckley Thrift Shop, Mrs. Diane Herrlman. Mrs. Muhs was named Buckley Air Force Base Spouse of the Year, then Air Force Space Command Spouse of the Year, and will now compete at the Air Force level for the same honor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mrs. Barbara Atwell)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A Buckley Air Force Base spouse was selected to represent Air Force Space Command in the upcoming 2006 Joan Orr Air Force Spouse of the Year competition.

Meredith Muhs, wife of Col. Steven Muhs, commander of the 460th Mission Support Group, is being recognized for her volunteer support to both the base and the local community.

"I was very honored that the folks at Buckley (Air Force Base) decided to put me in (for the award)," said Mrs. Muhs. "So many people do so much that I didn't really think I had a chance."

Mrs. Muhs volunteered countless hours helping Hurricane Katrina evacuees relocate to Denver last September. She organized the Buckley Spouses Group to help prepare meals and feed more than 200 evacuees and their families. She also worked with evacuees to locate and reunite with loved ones lost during the disaster. Mrs. Muhs rallied base personnel to donate items and distribute them among evacuees. She also worked with a squadron first sergeant, who had an Airman housing extended family members displaced by Hurricane Katrina, by collecting and delivering various clothing and monetary donations to the family.

She diligently worked to establish processes to ensure spouses of deployed personnel received the necessary support during their spouse's deployments. She personally assisted two spouses who had financial trouble by putting them in contact with the appropriate agencies to ensure they had money to pay their short-term bills and financial counseling to solve their long-term credit issues.

Mrs. Muhs was also recognized for her efforts in conducting the Military Impact Aid Survey for the Aurora Public Schools. The survey had the potential for $500,000 in funding for the school district. She personally contacted local school principals explaining the survey's importance and garnering their support. She set up and manned a booth at the Base Exchange to publicize the importance of the survey and to collect critical information from base personnel.

Mrs. Muhs' generosity didn't stop there. She worked with a family in the local community who was interested in "adopting" military children during the Christmas holiday. When she recognized the giving opportunity presented by the bases' Angel Tree program, Mrs. Muhs personally escorted the family on base to allow them access to the tree where they selected 10 cards listing different children and their Christmas gift wish list. After the family had done its shopping, she collected and delivered the gifts to the Angel Tree program coordinators.

She was also recognized as being an active member of the Buckley Spouses Group and for her efforts to re-energize the organization. As the groups fund-raising co-chair, Mrs. Muhs organized and participated in multiple fund-raising activities raising more than $6,000. One of the more successful events was the Buckley Blanket Sale, where more than 550 blankets were sold. Another successful fund-raising event coordinated by Mrs. Muhs was the holiday gift wrapping table which raised $1,025.

And still, the list of giving continues. Mrs. Muhs made and distributed "Treat Jars" at various organizations throughout the base. She regularly fills the jars with candy and motivational messages, a huge morale booster for base personnel. She provides a "home away from home" for single Airmen by hosting them for meals and holiday celebrations in her home.

Mrs. Muhs was also recognized as the "model Air Force spouse" for accomplishing these volunteer activities while raising four children.

"I have the opportunity at this time in our career to do the extra things," said Mrs. Muhs. "I like being involved, getting to know the people who work with my husband; I like the opportunity to be involved."

A military spouse is a unique and special person, she added. They develop characteristics that set them apart from other spouses in the civilian world. They know the importance of volunteering and being there for others, and they do it from the heart.

"Being nominated to represent Buckley is one thing, but representing the major command level is a big thing," she continued. "I never expected this."

The award, sponsored by the Air Force Association, recognizes the significant contributions made by non-military spouses of Air Force military members.
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