The Air Force recognizes May 11 as Military Spouse Appreciation Day, but despite all the challenges, one local spouse understands how much she appreciates not just being thanked but also for what her family has done for her.
Kristy Mancuso, wife of Staff Sgt. Ramon Mancuso, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron, said she was introduced to him in May 2006, and it was love at first sight. They married 31 days later.
Kristy and Ramon said the marriage was difficult at first because they spent most of their first two years of marriage apart. He had orders to Italy, but Kristy had to stay with her children from her previous marriage back in the states.
â€œWe saw each other about every three months,â€ Kristy said. â€œI either went to go see him or he came to see me.â€
Once Ramon received orders to Luke Air Force Base in July 2008, Kristy and Ramon began to look forward to spending more time together.
Then, just six months later, Kristy got sick.
The doctor diagnosed Kristy with thyroid cancer. In February 2009, she had her thyroid removed. During the surgery, the doctor made a mistake and cut a part of her esophagus; this mistake now burdens Kristy and her family every day.
â€œIâ€™m no longer able to swallow,â€ Kristy said. â€œI actually live with a feeding tube.â€
Despite misfortunes, Kristy is thankful the military has provided her with health care.
â€œI would probably be $500,000 in debt if it wasnâ€™t for TRICARE,â€ Kristy said.
Additionally, Kristy is thankful to have a husband who not only loves her, but takes care of her.
â€œI knew I had to be strong for my kids,â€ Ramon said. â€œI had a lot of positive people surrounding me, which helped and made me feel confident.â€
Today, Kristy is doing well. She spends most of her time at home with her kids.
â€œI enjoy cooking for my family,â€ Kristy said. â€œI also love to read.â€
Although Kristy has been married to Ramon for six years she still feels new to the military lifestyle.
â€œI was a part of the Enlisted Spouses Club,â€ Kristy said. â€œIt was nice because you get to meet other wives and get to be involved in the community.â€
For spouses new to the military, it may be hard to adapt to the military lifestyle. For Kristy, simple things helped her marriage stay strong.
Kristy recommends spouses new to the military to find a support system.
â€œFind a support system within the community,â€ Kristy said. â€œJoin the ESC or find a program or group that suits you.â€
At the end of the day, Kristy loves her husband.
â€œIâ€™m proud to be his wife,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s an honor to have my husband be a part of the Air Force.â€