NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, paid a special visit to military families in Hampton Roads on Wednesday.
The Second Lady made a stop at Naval Station Norfolk to thank military spouses for their sacrifices, and she also handed out hundreds of care packages.
Mrs. Pence said it’s her mission to recognize military families and the important role they play in the military.
“You are the backbone of the military,” she said to spouses in the crowd. “It’s important to take care of military spouses and their children so that service members can stay focused on their missions and remain ready to fight and protect our freedoms.”
Mrs. Pence handed out care packages as a thank you to spouses for what she called their invaluable contributions.
“You make so many sacrifices without much in return,” she said. “We can never, ever, ever thank you enough for your service.”
“I’m really honored that she appreciates our sacrifice. I love my husband. This is our seventh deployment,” said Jill, a military spouse we spoke with.
We’re told one of those sacrifices is finding employment after moving. According to the Department of Defense, the military spouse unemployment rate is 24%. However, the Second Lady shared some positive news – the DOD will now be required to reimburse re-licensing and re-certification fees for spouses after a military move.
The DOD has teamed up with LinkedIn to make job hunting easier.
“What she had to say about employment and the support of military spouses and bringing that out to the broader community really touched home. I don’t want to be forgotten,” said Stephanie, another military spouse.
Mrs. Pence also came together with the organization The Comfort Crew for Military Kids to recognize the children of deployed service members. Volunteers put together care packages with items like Teddy bears and a journal. Military families we spoke to said they’re grateful.
“I gave birth to my first child while my husband was deployed,” Stephanie said. “It’s just nice for someone to give us credit and to know that somebody is out there working for us.”