Social work professor Elisa Borah developed the Veteran Spouse Network to support spouses of veterans like Anne Jackson.

Things started to fall apart for Anne Jackson in 2008, when her husband MJ was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

It seemed like ages since they had met at the Midnight Rodeo, a honky-tonk in Lubbock, Texas. Jackson was then finishing her law degree at Baylor and MJ was a pilot in training at Reese Air Force base who surprised her with his two-stepping skills. Five years later, he surprised her again when he proposed over the PA system at the football game during Jackson’s 10-year high-school reunion in her hometown of Gruver.

The newlyweds moved to Fort Hood, and then to Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, where Jackson first experienced the hardship of separation. Only a few weeks after their second son was born in January 2002, MJ was deployed to Iraq. Although it was an arduous four months apart, Jackson was not working outside of the home at the time and was able to move in temporarily with her parents for support.

Things were very different in 2008. Jackson, who had re-started her law career after their third child was born, was then assistant county attorney for Bell County. With MJ away, she had to juggle a demanding job, the full responsibility of raising three young children, and the constant worry about her husband being in harm’s way. The relentless pressure, Jackson says, turned her into a very angry person.

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Watch a video with Anne Jackson about the Veteran Spouse Resiliency Group.