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Officer's spouse donates time

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- With her flaming, short red hair and bright smile, Theresa Marten, a 28th Medical Group registered pediatric nurse practitioner, is anything but an assuming person.

Mrs. Marten's level of involvement with both the Ellsworth and local communities has earned her more than just the joy she receives from regularly volunteering or the attention of her peers, it has also earned her the 2008 Joan Orr Air Force Spouse of the Year Award.

This award, which is sponsored by the Air Force Association, recognizes spouses of military members for their significant contributions to the Air Force.

Upon asking her about the award, Mrs. Marten diverts the attention she has received to those around her, who also donate their time freely.

"I felt really embarrassed when I found out that I won," Mrs. Marten said. "There are so many people at Ellsworth who do so many great things, and I didn't really feel it was fair to single me out."
Before living in Ellsworth, Mrs. Marten had always been actively involved with volunteering, "Volunteering was bred into me as a child," Mrs. Marten said, "My mom did a lot of volunteering while I was a child and it really inspired me."

The joy she receives from volunteering is also another reason Mrs. Marten remains dedicated to giving of her time.

Along with being president of the Officers' Spouses Club for the past two years, she oversaw 27 other OSC committees and sub-committees.
Mrs. Marten is also heavily involved with the Ellsworth thrift shop helping it generate $12,000 annually for the base. She also helped spearhead the OSC movement to deliver Veteran's Day gift bags to all local area veterans in nursing homes.

Mrs. Marten has also been involved with a number of charities outside the base. She's deeply involved with the Catholic Chapel's Cornerstone Mission Outreach where she helps prepare and serve meals for 150 homeless people every month, and she also volunteers for Rapid City's Clothe-a-Kid fair and middle school shoppers program, which helped clothe 1,056 kids.

Despite the many hours she dedicatee to these organization, Mrs. Marten also works full-time as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She earned her Pediatric Acute Care certification, making her one of five nurse practitioners in South Dakota with this certification and was able to complete 100 hours of Continuing Medical Education credit while attending four professional seminars and conferences.

Her dedication to these organizations has not gone unnoticed by those she volunteers with.

Her friend, Brandi Alford, 28th Medical Operations Squadron health education program manager, met Mrs. Marten through OSC and quickly noticed Mrs. Marten's ability to go above and beyond what was required of her duties.

"She works really hard, I don't know how she does it, she's like super woman," Mrs. Alford said, "A lot of spouses admire her because she has such a great deal of energy and enthusiasm and because she is so selfless."

It was Mrs. Marten's husband, Capt. David Marten, 28th Bomb Wing Plans and Programs officer, who nominated his wife for the base-level Spouse of the Year.

"Naturally, she fought me on it," Captain Marten said, "She knows there are many other spouses on base who help just as much as her to make Ellsworth a great place to live and she didn't want to steal the limelight. Being a typical guy I don't know how to say thank you for all her efforts so I figured I'd let a nomination say if for me."

Despite his wife's reservations, Captain Marten went ahead and handed in the nomination package for his wife.

After winning Ellsworth's Spouse of the Year award in January, Mrs. Marten was even more surprised when she discovered that she was had won at the Air Combat and Command level too.

However proud she is of the award, Mrs. Marten hasn't let the award go to her head. She plans to volunteer as she always has before she began working with 28 MDG, and although she's glad to have won Spouse of the Year, winning awards was never her goal.

"One award is enough," Mrs. Marten jokingly said.