Base voting for Military Spouse of the Year will close Friday.

Voting for Military Spouse of the Year ends this week.

Of over 400 candidates nominated, nine are stationed at Camp Lejeune, New River and Cherry Point.

Finalists will be announced Feb. 13.

Camp Lejeune spouses include Amber Zawistowski, Jolynn Lee, Michelle McMellon, Rosie Sonnier and Alexis Chitwood. The nominee from New River is Randi Burke.

Cherry Point spouses include Andrea Hackenberger, Kelsea Baumgarten and Whitlee Witte.

The candidates are all involved in their communities, either by supporting their children’s schools or their spouse’s unit. Many have been through five or more deployments and multiple PCS moves.

Voting can be done online at https://msoy.militaryspouse.com/vote/ and is open to anyone, military or not. Select a base under the “Choose a Duty Station” tab at the top of the page or search for those nominated to find candidates.

Profiles for each candidate are also available online to help supplement your vote.

Only one vote is allowed per calendar day.

Each profile answers questions like “what is the biggest challenge military challenges face?”

Zawistowski said in her profile that 15 years as a military spouse has taught her patience, but she has noticed a lack of bonding between spouses during more peaceful times.

“You can live in a military community and never even know anyone around you,” Zawistowski wrote.

Baumgarten said in her profile she’s noticed how social media substitutes real relationships and connections for too many military spouses.

“I want to inspire real community,” Baumgarten wrote. “Beyond Facebook. Beyond Instagram.”

Witlee wrote that the biggest issue she sees is the support system differences on each military installation.

“I believe there needs to be more uniformity, across the board, on how units support there military members and their families,” Witlee said.

Other spouses were concerned with issues like access to healthcare.

Lee volunteers with the REBOOT program at Camp Lejeune and said in her profile that access to mental health care is important.

“The ability to secure assistance when dealing with mental health issues, particularly those involving trauma, is huge,” Lee said.

Sonnier, the mother of a child with special needs, wrote in her profile that healthcare is one of the biggest things that impacts family readiness.

“As a senior enlisted spouse and mom to special needs child, my goal is to pay it forward to military families navigating their way through both medical and education systems,” Sonnier wrote.

Other spouses spoke about the benefits of military life.

Hackenberger wrote that it was hard to help her through boys through PCS moves, but she learned to create a family at each installation.

“My military family is my backbone and they are the non-biological Aunts and Uncles to my children,” Hackenberger wrote.

Chitwood said in her profile embracing the military lifestyle helped her establish a portable career.

“Even though I received an amazing education, and landed a wonderful work from home career in the tech world, I did not use my degrees to get where I am today,” Chitwood wrote.

Burke said in her profile that becoming the best version of herself made all the difference in her journey as a military spouse.

“I learned that taking care of myself physically and mentally sets the tone for my entire family,” Burke said.

McMellon’s profile did not answer any of the questions but included one comment. "She just simply deserves this," wrote Sam Jasper, who nominated her.

On March 2, the National vote for Military Spouse of the Year will take place winners will be honored with an awards ceremony May 10.

Reporter Kelsey Stiglitz can be reached at 910-219-8453.