Exclusive Blogging from Campaign Trail: Michelle Obama's Inspiration from a "Marine All the Way"

The first lady, in the fourth of five exclusive guest blog posts for iVote on iVillage, salutes military families like Marine Corps reservist and mom Erin Gianopoulos who give her the inspiration to keep going during the hectic campaign homestretch.

First Lady Michelle Obama has been hitting the campaign trail over the last year to help re-elect her husband. This week on iVillage, Mrs. Obama shares the inspiring stories of five incredible women she’s met along the way. Follow her blog all week long at www.ivillage.com/ivote. And, if you have any questions about where or when to vote this fall, just go to GottaVote.com to find all the information you need.

Erin Gianopoulos is a Marine all the way. When I met her this summer in Virginia, she told me that she is a Marine Corps wife, a Marine Corps veteran, and that she still serves in the Marine Corps reserves. In fact, she met her husband, John, in basic training.

Like all of our veterans and military spouses, Erin and John have made tremendous sacrifices for our country. In their six years of marriage, they’ve moved their family three times and gone through four combat deployments. “It’s not always an easy lifestyle,” Erin said. “But we’re grateful for the opportunity to serve our country.”

That’s the spirit I’ve seen in our nation’s veterans and military families in communities all across America. Whenever our country calls, they step up to serve—and they do it with pride, courage and grace.

Women like Erin have inspired my husband to make sure our veterans and military families are getting the honor and recognition they deserve—and not just with words, but with real action. Barack has given tax credits to businesses that hire our veterans and wounded warriors. He’s expanded the GI Bill, so that our veterans can go to college and get the training they need to get a good job after their military service ends. And he’s improved health care for our troops and military families, especially those dealing with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.

Erin has seen all of this as a veteran and military spouse, and that’s a big reason why she’s supporting my husband in this election. But there’s another reason why Erin is supporting Barack – she’s also supporting him as a mom. You see, Erin told me that when she was a young officer in the Marine Corps, she was far too busy to think about politics. But when her son Christos was born, she started to get a new perspective.

As a mother, she knows that she can teach Christos about hard work, honesty, and giving back to others; she can help him grow up healthy and strong; she can give him all the love and support that she can muster. But she realized that there are also some things she can’t do on her own. She alone can’t guarantee that an insurance company will cover her son if he develops a pre-existing condition. She alone can’t protect the environment so that he’ll have clean air and water and safe places to play and explore. She alone can’t build an education system that teaches her son the skills he’ll need, or an economy that gives him an opportunity for a good job, or a society that will reward his hard work.

More than anything, Erin told me that since she’s become a mother, she’s realized how we’re all in this together. And that’s why this November, she’ll be casting a ballot for my husband – not only because he’s supporting our military families, but because he wants every family to have a fair shot.

So I hope that when Election Day comes around, you’ll stand with Erin and me and vote for Barack.

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