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Local businesses show appreciation for military spouses

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --

Free haircuts, tips for cooking well on a budget, massages, a fashion show, self defense and crafts were just a few of the things more than 300 military spouses received May 9, during the 2006 Military Spouse Appreciation Day at the Armed Services YMCA.

"This gives spouses an opportunity to be pampered, appreciated and to connect with others. Spouses provide critical support to the community and to active-duty members, which adds to the success of the mission," said Debbie Broeking, Family Support Center. "It allows military spouses of the different bases or post to get to know one another."

Many of the spouses agreed that the day was a lot of fun.

"I'm glad I came. I'm getting my haircut and meeting new people," said Amy Ivie, wife of Army Sgt. Michael Ivie. "This has been a great experience."

Volunteers from Schriever helped with the event.

"This year we organized a craft and information table," Mrs. Broeking said. "We were responsible for emceeing and initiating a scavenger hunt game to help the spouses connect with others."

The appreciation day was a chance for spouses to relax and enjoy themselves and to know how much the local community appreciates them.

"This appreciation day brings in support from the community and is an acknowledgement of the contributions and sacrifices of military spouses," Mrs. Broeking said. "With the level of deployments and being a military spouse, there are additional responsibilities. This gives them a day for themselves."

The Armed Services YMCA programs provide educational, personal growth, childcare, recreation and referral services for military members and their families. Activities such as Kids Adventure Days, parenting classes, aerobics, family budgeting workshops and Friday Family Fun Nights help strengthen families and provide a connection to the rest of the community.