GULFPORT -- The initial email caught Tammy Meyer by surprise.
Too humble to fully acknowledge an award nomination, the wife of Cmdr. Gordie Meyer at the Naval Construction Battalion Center thought surely the message had landed in her inbox by mistake.
But the notification was no error. In Gear Career Director of Marketing Allison Treloar nominated Meyer for the Military Spouse of the Year award last month because of multiple reasons.
"She has vision, a passion to serve and a positive, 'go get 'em' attitude that is contagious to all around her," Treloar wrote in her nomination to Military Spouse Magazine. "Tammy's efforts to create positive change for military families are truly inspiring."
Plenty of others must have felt the same way, because Jan. 30 Tammy was named one of 18 semifinalists for the national award. The final six contestants -- one from each branch -- will be announced Feb. 20 with the Military Spouse of the Year being unveiled May 9.
Championing a cause
The Meyers have been married almost seven years. Prior to meeting one another, Tammy worked in the corporate fitness world. Now, among many causes she champions, she's a life coach and also is the Gulfport chapter lead for In Gear Career, an organization focused on serving career-minded spouses.
Tammy said it's not always easy being a military spouse; her husband has been deployed twice during their marriage. She has learned not only to embrace the lifestyle, but also to channel her experiences in a way that will help others with In Gear Career.
"It's important to me because of my personal experience and having to reinvent my career with all the moves that we have had," she said. "That's pretty tough and challenging, but if you're going to continue on your career journey you almost have to embrace it."
Tammy said she started the Gulfport chapter of In Gear Career in an effort to create a network for military spouses who are in a similar position to hers.
"For military spouses and families, there really should be opportunities and not challenges," she said. "If their career journey has been impacted by a military lifestyle in any way, they can consider themselves supported."
Should she win the award, Tammy said she wants to use the title to "shine a brighter light and be a voice personally for career-minded military spouses."
Gordie doesn't exactly hold the official position as Tammy's campaign manager -- they both chuckled when asked if he was at the Seabee Base entrance handing out flyers that read "Vote For Tammy" -- but she said he has been especially encouraging during the voting process.
"He's so supportive. He's really optimistic," Tammy said. "He never stops smiling. He was naturally, like anything else, supportive."
Added Gordie: "She's a great spouse and obviously she has my vote."
Through the rounds
Among the top 18 are three spouses representing each of the six branches.
Even with several cuts still to be announced, Tammy can't quite wrap her head around her run through the competition.
"To be in this position I feel a bit like a fish out of water," she said. "It's an unfamiliar position with the focus, but at the same time I appreciate it's a big responsibility and I don't take that lightly."