St. Joseph Coast Guard spouse up for national honor
SAINT JOSEPH, Mich. – A local St. Joseph, Michigan Coast Guard spouse is up for a national honor.
The honor is called the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year award, and Valerie Gehrke of St. Joseph is up for the honor.
“It’s been very humbling number one, and I would say it’s been quite an honor,” Gehrke said.
Gehrke was one of 1,200 people nominated and one of over one million military spouses eligible for the award.
“The award itself is gonna be a good platform any spouse or Valerie if she wins to be able to use that as a tool to be able to get some important things done that the Coast Guard needs to get out there” Coast Guard member Jeffrey Gehrke said.
ABC57 first introduced Gehrke to the Michiana area when she rallied the community together for donations for military families during the partial government shutdown.
Afterward Coast Guard officers thanked the entire St. Joseph community for their support in a letter to the community.
During her nearly 17 years as a military spouse she has welcomed people the military community in places like Maine, Cape May New Jersey, and now St. Joseph.
Gehrke says this isn’t about a competition with the other spouses but to help each other recognize all of their efforts and she would be honored to win but is honored to help others and be considered for this award.
“What an honor it would be and what a deep appreciation I think our station would have locally here at St. Joe and our district they’ve already expressed their support and their appreciation,” Gehrke said.
The finalist will be announced at a celebration in Arlington, Virginia in May.