Key spouse, ombudsman honored at Military Appreciation Night

The Brownells are clockwise from left, Arthur, Trey, Amber, Chloe and Sean.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Family life in the military means that there will be moments of chaos where life just seems to go 100 miles per hour.

Despite the hectic lifestyles, Susanna Ross and Amber Brownell have volunteered more of their own lives to make other families’ stay in the military just a little bit easier.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Ross and Brownell were honored during pre-game ceremonies at the University of Hawaii’s Military Appreciation Night Mountain West football showdown against Fresno St.

Ross, who represented the U.S. Air Force, and Brownell, who was chosen for her volunteerism with the U.S. Navy, each received a $500 check from the Honolulu Navy League for their outstanding work as a military key spouse and ombudsman.

The Ross family is clockwise from left, Justin, Susanna, Malachi and Ezekiel.

Ross is the wife of Capt. Justin Ross and mom to Malachi and Ezekiel, while Brownell is married to Senior Chief Personnel Specialist Arthur Brownell and the couple has three children, Trey, Sean and Chloe.

“This is an amazing opportunity,” Ross said about her award. “I thank everyone who put me up for this, my husband and his commander.”

According to Ross and Brownell, their role is not an easy task and requires a lot of coordination and communication between military personnel and their families to make sure that vital information is shared and passed on.

“I am a key spouse for the squadron and I support the men and women that are behind the active-duty military,” Ross said.

“If they need help, we can point them in the right direction.”

Brownell said that while there are moments when it just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to take care of her family and the needs of others, the desire to serve keeps her on task.

“You just have to make time, “Brownell said. “Whether it means getting up at 5 a.m. or going to bed at midnight, I just make the time. But this is absolutely rewarding. I just want to show everyone how proud I am of him (my husband) and the entire military. It’s never easy, but I just do it without even thinking about it anymore. He’s been in for 15 years and I just love doing it.”

Like Brownell, Ross said that lending a helping hand is something that seems to come naturally for her.

“We definitely put God first,” Ross said. “Then we put family and work. That’s the way it goes and it never gets in the way of each other.”

While Ross said that the workload between family and volunteering is pretty steady throughout the year, Brownell said that there does seem to be one time in particular when things get a little bit more hectic.

“Whenever he’s gone,” she said. “That’s just what happens. When they leave, things get busy. Things go wrong and that’s when you just pull up your boot straps and go for it.”

With only a short while remaining here in the islands, Ross, who is from Florida, said that she and her family have loved their stay in Hawaii.

Still, no matter where they go, Ross said that she plans to stay active and help out as much as she can.

“The other wives, I see what they are doing and it just makes me want to strive for more,” Ross said. “That’s why I got involved.”

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Category: News