Rosanna Vasquez-Brown - Military Mom
Nominee Rosanna Vasquez Brown is no army of one? she's deeply devoted to her husband and daughter.
This month, for the second time in three years, Captain Rosanna Vasquez Brown, 38, will deploy to Iraq to work as a physician assistant for a battalion of 560 soldiers. She'll be separated from her husband, Mark, 41, and their daughter, Elisa, 7, who will pray for her from their Harker Heights, TX, home. Even while serving her country 7,000 miles away, Rosanna's top priority is being a committed and loving mom.
Here's how she does it:
- she savors the small stuff
"When I got my first Iraq deployment date, I immediately brought out the calendar and showed Elisa the 91 days I had left at home--because
we were going to make that time count! When
I came home from work, we'd turn on the radio, dance around, and have a good laugh. Whenever Elisa wanted to play with me, I stopped what I was doing; the dishes could wait."
- she relies on family
"For me, the Army is a family affair: Mark is a recently retired master sergeant, and my two brothers are also enlisted. When Mark, my brother Francisco, and I were all deployed in Iraq three years ago, Francisco's wife, Marie, moved into my house with her two sons to care for Elisa. Marie stepped up to the plate as a military wife and was so supportive. Elisa calls her her second mom.
It's a blessing to me that they're so close."
- she believes in her work
"My parents are from Mexico, and after every family trip back to Mexico, my mom would remind me to be thankful for being American. That stayed with me--and had a lot to do with my joining the Army 16 years ago. It's difficult treating wounded soldiers, but I'm proud of what I do. One day, when Iraq has its independence, I want Elisa to be able to look back and think, My mom and dad were a part of that."
- she always keeps her daughter near
"I took family photos to keep with me in Iraq. And Elisa gave me her teddy bear, Foo Foo, who sat on my bed the whole year I was away. Marie sent me Elisa's art and I covered my walls with it--my room looked like a kindergarten class!"
- she has a supportive husband
"For this deployment, Mark is staying home with Elisa. It comforts me that they're such pals. Mark and I write love letters, and every time we're back together it's like another honeymoon. We're better parents for having such a strong bond."
- she relishes her family time
"For now, I cherish being home. Every night is family night--we play Scrabble and Yahtzee. Mark and Elisa are my absolute favorite people."