Dear Military Spouses: Thank You!

Always celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day allows us to acknowledge the significant contributions, support and sacrifices made by spouses of the armed forces. We are proud to have military spouses among us and as part of our National Vision family.

US Air ForceThis year we are honored to feature Christina Sowder, an Air Force military spouse and the Store Manager/Licensed Optician of our Vista Optical on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.

Christina has been a proud military spouse for 20 years. Originally from White Plains, Maryland, Christina met her husband in 1996 when he was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base (before it was known as Joint Base Andrews).  They married in early 1997 and welcomed their daughter in December of that year. Christina’s daughter will soon be following in her mother’s footsteps by marrying into the Air Force.

Although Christina has only been part of our National Vision family for a year, she has worked in optics for 25 years! She started her career in the lab of another national chain, and has been in corporate, franchise and private practice. She hopes to eventually move up in the company.

Here is what she has to say:

Tell us more about your experience as a military spouse.

“I’ve been a military wife for 20 years as of April 18th. In that time, we’ve only been to 3 bases – Andrews AFB, Scott AFB, and where we are currently – Seymour Johnson AFB.

I love the challenges that come up with being a military wife and the support network that is available to military families. So many programs have been created since I first became a military wife. For example, there is the Key Spouse Program in the Air Force. It’s not a social club – you have to go through classes and training, and you report to the chain of command if there are any issues. You are the conduit between the squadron and the deployed member’s families, helping with anything from taking someone to a doctor appointment, to planning squadron family functions, to helping in crisis situations so the families don’t feel alone. I was honored to be one of the Key Spouses here on Seymour Johnson. I stood beside greater women than me, and I am forever grateful for the experience.

The worst part about the lifestyle is the changes… when your husband has to leave in two weeks for six months for a non-voluntary deployment. Or he’s coming home on a particular date, and it gets delayed a week or so. Oh, and bad things always happen in threes when they’re gone – like the car dying, washer breaking, computer crashes, kid breaks an arm, etc. Never fails. Any military wife can tell you it’s the truth!”

Picture of Christina and her husbandWhat are your thoughts about our commitment to hire veterans and veteran/military spouses?

“The commitment to hire veterans and their spouses is very special to me. A lot of times, as a spouse you go on a job interview and they pass over hiring you once they find out you’re connected to the military. That should never be a determining factor in hiring someone, but it happens more often than people realize. I have gotten the call that said ‘We’re sorry, we really think you would be a great asset, but we’re looking for someone who’s going to stick around longer than a couple of years.’ It’s frustrating. 

Taking care of our veterans and spouses is very important to me, so I was ecstatic to find out that NVI really commits to hiring them! It makes life so much easier for us to know we can transfer jobs, and have that continuity and stability. So many things are in the air when we’re relocating. Knowing there’s a job ready when we get to our new base makes life so much easier.”

Why are you proud to work at National Vision?

“NVI really strives to put their people first. We’re given so many tools to help us succeed, and to help our staff succeed. I’ve never worked anywhere else that puts that much emphasis on the success and growth of the people. I think that is what truly makes NVI unique.”

We thank you, Christina, and all of our military spouses for your strength, loyalty, commitment and sacrifice. We are proud to have military spouses among us and are committed to hiring veteran spouses as part of the Joining Forces initiative.

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

Jessica Altamirano

Jessica Altamirano

Communications Specialist at National Vision, Inc.
Jessica Altamirano is a proud Veteran spouse who has worked for NVI since 2014. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. Jessica is passionate about corporate-nonprofit partnerships, philanthropic efforts in developing countries, Veteran recruitment, and creating a culture of health and wellness in the workplace.
Jessica Altamirano