Key Spouse awards handed with aloha

Andrea Lapham holds up her $500 check for being named as Key Spouse (Air Force) of the Year by the Honolulu Navy League.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Janet Baltazar and Andrea Lapham were selected as top representatives of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force respectively in the Key Spouse program for their outstanding volunteerism and service as military key spouse and ombudsman in Hawaii.

For their tireless contributions to the welfare of their communities, Baltazar and Lapham were each awarded with checks of $500 from the Honolulu Navy League during pregame ceremonies of the University of Hawaii versus the U.S. Naval Academy collegiate football game at Aloha Stadium Sept. 1.

Janet Baltazar is all smiles after winning a $500 check from the Honolulu Navy League for being Key Spouse (Navy) of the Year.

“I’m speechless. I wasn’t expecting this,” said Baltazar, who has been married for 10 years. “I didn’t know about it until Sunday afternoon.”

Lapham has been married for five years.

“I was surprised,” Lapham shared. “I feel really blessed and honored.”

Both women have a history of helping others and said that it is very rewarding to help with their community — especially when their husbands are away on duty.

Baltazar said that being in Hawaii and so far away from home, made her feel like she should reach out and help others who are in the same situation.

“Being in Hawaii is a different circumstance because we’re on an island and I wouldn’t go home as frequently as before,” Baltazar pointed out. “So I felt like I had to get out of my comfort zone and get myself out there and help out other spouses in need.”

During the year, Baltazar has been the point person to come to when spouses and their families need information about the command.

She has also served as an individual welcoming committee to make newcomers feel at home.

“I hold monthly meetings so families can hear about what’s going on with the command,” Baltazar explained.

“I help out with coming up with different activities or events that will bring people together. Once the boats are gone, it’s us spouses. We become one family and it helps the Sailors know that back home, we got it taken care of.”

Lapham, who works full time as a speech pathologist at Kailua High School, said that knowing that she has been there to offer support to fellow spouses makes her want to do it even more.

“It’s mainly just being a support system for our families — especially for spouses and families who have a deployed member,” Lapham acknowledged. “Just being there and making sure they know what services are available to them.”

Lapham’s husband noted that he is extremely proud of his wife and feels that her recent award was very well deserved.

“She’s amazing. She does it all,” he said. “One, she’s pregnant right? She’s just the glue that holds our family together. There’s times that I have to go places and do things, but she’s just that rock that keeps us solid. It takes a special man or woman to be a military spouse. She just exemplifies that.”

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Category: News