It started as a passing thought between Lawrence resident Charity M. Lander and her husband, Lt. Geoffrey Lander, a Navy training officer stationed in Norfolk, Va.
He went through with it, wrote an essay and nominated his wife, a Kansas University doctoral student in geobiology, for Military Spouse Magazine’s 2010 Military Spouse of the Year.
“My husband and I had talked about it because it’s very well-publicized at least through the military community every year,” she said. “I didn’t really think any of this was going to happen.”
Weeks later Geoffrey called her and told her she had made the top 25. She’s now vying to be the top Navy spouse in an online voting contest.
“I almost fell on the floor. I was so shocked,” Charity said.
The couple said her career studying how bacteria alters the Earth’s crust and her outreach work teaching underprivileged Kansas children about science likely helped secure the nomination.
“I’m hoping that I can represent the diversity of military spouses,” she said. “A lot of times people assume very specific things about military spouses.”
It’s difficult for the couple to be far apart and only see each other every six to eight weeks, but they make it work.
“My wife is a different woman for a modern time and a different spouse than what most people think of a military spouse,” Geoffrey said.
Online voting is at msoy.milspouse.com until Feb. 10 when one winner from each branch will move on to the finals. The magazine will announce the branch winners on March 1.