Colorado Springs community gives thanks to military spouses

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Spouses of military members packed the Southeast YMCA May 7 for a day of information gathering, sharing experiences and a whole lot of pampering during the Military Spouse Appreciation Day. 

Donna Chavez representing the Academy Airman & Family Readiness Center, estimated about 400 spouses of service members in the Pikes Peak area attended. 

"We have a really good turn-out," she said. "It's a day to show our appreciation for the sacrifices they make, and it's neat to see how the community comes together to do this." 

On hand were representatives from Air Force AFRC's, Army Community Services, health and wellness centers, the Pikes Peak Library District, military arts and crafts and outdoor recreation centers, health care providers, employment assistance providers and financial companies, all of which offered information, free samples and small gifts. Craft booths offered spouses opportunities to create a take-home project. 

Spouses and family members enjoyed a complimentary lunch. YMCA members were eligible for a workout in the gym or a dip in the pool during the event. 

"This is a really big deal for us, and it's perfect because Mother's Day is this weekend," said Wendy Brez, marketing director for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. "We understand the hardships every one of them is going through." 

Lines formed quickly for hair stylings, massages and make-up tips. 

"It's nice to be pampered every once in a while. I love it. It feels so nice to have someone style my hair," said Kelly Reitman, spouse of Army Sgt. Paul Reitman. "It's nice they're doing this for us." 

Area stylists volunteered their time and talents for the annual event. 

"I love doing hair, and I love pampering others," said Lindsey Throne, stylist with Toni and Guy. 

Angelica Medina, spouse of Sgt. 1st Class Jose Medina who has been deployed twice, also took advantage of the pampering. 

"Hair, nails, massage, whatever I can get," she said with a smile of her plans for the day.
Danyella Inthalangsy, spouse of Cpl. Phoutthasone Inthalangsy, also planned on a haircut, but she also enjoyed getting away for a few hours. 

"It's the first time away from my son," she said. "It's nice to eat without little, tiny hands grabbing it away from me." 

During the lunch hours, military spouses offered a fashion show, "Fashion on a Budget." The presentation included tips on purchasing items at deep discounts from department stores, buying clothing in bulk and scouring thrift shops for attractive and very wearable items. 

Dirk Spaulding with the Academy Health and Wellness Center said the event went well.
"It's great," he said. "It has always been fun, and we support the community."