Pam Larson up for Military Spouse of the Year - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Pam Larson up for Military Spouse of the Year

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Robert, Pamela and their two boys. Robert, Pamela and their two boys.
FORT JACKSON, SC (WIS) -

A Fort Jackson spouse is up for a national award because of her efforts to fight for soldiers who may not be able to fight for themselves.  

Pam Larson is a finalist for Military Spouse of the Year. She was nominated because of her work as an advocate for families dealing with post traumatic stress disorder.   

It's a battle she knows about personally. Her husband Robert was diagnosed with PTSD after two tours in Iraq. Last year, things got so overwhelming he disappeared for 8 days.

"For my husband, it was just so much and it all hit him so hard that he had to. He had to disappear, literally, to release some of that," said Pam. "That's the scary part, is what happens when it becomes too much, when it becomes overwhelming."

After an agonizing 8 days, Sgt. Larson finally returned home, but in many ways, Pam felt like she found herself married to a different man.

"Things obviously had changed, and you don't know who the new person is because of the injury and because of the PTSD, but learning to -- relearning the normal and relearning how to communicate is very important," said Pam.

As a former soldier herself who was awarded the Purple Heart for her service in Iraq, Pam felt she was prepared to deal with anything as a military wife except PTSD.

"You're left feeling, 'Well, what do we do, where do we go to?' You almost feel helpless watching your whole family and your whole life crumble around you," said Pam.

She desperately wanted her husband back -- the man who swept her off her feet and vowed his love in a fairytale wedding. The man she knew before a devastating roadside bomb in Iraq.

"It's the fact that I know the man that I married, you know, to say that it hasn't been difficult would be a lie, you know? To say that we haven't thought about divorce would be a lie, because I think at some point every family that deals with PTSD thinks well maybe it would be easier if we separate, but for me, that's just not in the cards."

That's when Pam realized she has an important story to share. "That was my big 'a-ha' moment because I was like we need to do something about this," said Pam. "Not only have I been fighting this battle for years, but so many others are fighting it. At some point they're going to be in the exact same boat as me."  

Voting for Military Spouse of the Year is all day Tuesday and ends at midnight.

To vote for Pam, click here.

Military Spouse magazine founded the Military Spouse of the Year award in 2008 to honor military spouses of all ranks and from all branches of service.

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