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Fort Sill Woman Military Spouse of the Year Finalist

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FORT SILL Okla_ The wife of one of Fort Sill's finest is in the running for a "Military Spouse of the Year" award. 

Some believe that the toughest job in the military is being married to someone who serves. From waiting for your spouse to return from a deployment, to picking up and moving at a moment's notice, it's a challenge.  So, once a year, "Military Spouse Magazine" recognizes those who have chosen that life, and Tara Crooks is one of the finalists.

Tara does it all. Besides being married to the military for 15 years and raising two kids, she's written a book, operates several blogs all dealing with being a military spouse, and even has her own radio show called Army Wife Talk Radio. It's her mission to show the world how beautiful military life can be.

"I honestly don't think I would have had it any other way," Crooks said.

Being a military wife wasn't something she aspired to be, though.

"I didn't know that I was cut out for this," Crooks said. "It wasn't in my plan. I was going to go work corporate somewhere, and I was going to have this big job in training and development, but here we are," Crooks said.

She said love has nothing do with the uniform.

"Whenever I fell in love with my husband, I didn't fall in love with a soldier," Crooks said. "I fell in love with a scrawny kid who was in college and stalked me. He didn't really; I stalked him," Crooks said, laughing.

She's stood by Major Kevin Crooks' side for 15 years, through three deployments and five abrupt moves. She'd never lie and say it is easy. She'd tell you it takes a strong individual.

"We are resilient, amazing creatures," Crooks said. "There's just nobody else out there like us." 

Tara Crooks has poured herself into projects like blogs devoted to helping other military spouses conquer the lifestyle and a book about why she loves being a military wife.

"Gosh, there are 1,001 reasons, don't you know?!" Crooks said.

She even hosts a talk show about being a military wife. That's why one of her Army Wife Network friends nominated her for Military Spouse of the Year.

"I feel so lucky to have a little group of my biggest fans," Crooks said. "I love them. I'm their biggest fan. We're like a little family. So, I thought it was really cool that they would recognize one of their own."

Now, Crooks is up against 17 other finalists from each branch of the military and from installations all over the country. She said regardless of whether she takes the title or not, her mission remains the same: embracing military life and making it her own.

"I just really think that this is a life to love," Crooks said. "There's so much pride involved in what we do, and military families are amazing. I always say that military spouses are so much more than homecomings and all the kind of stuff you see on the news."

Tara Crooks said the best advice she can offer to spouses new to the military is get yourselves a battle buddy. There will be struggles on the home front, too, and it's best to face them with a friend.

You can vote for Tara Crooks or any of the other finalists on March 5th only! Just click here and follow the Military Spouse of the Year 2013 links.  

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