First Place: Dinner and Drinks at Pietro’s Prime
I was single during my first deployment to Iraq from 2005-2006. I was engaged when deployed to Iraq a second time from 2008-2009. I have just returned from my first deployment to Afghanistan, and I’m not only married, but the proud father of our daughter, Makayla.
I left when Makalya was only a couple of months old. Neither my wife Heidi nor I knew what lay ahead, not only in the combat zone, but as first-time parents. My wife singlehandedly dealt with Makayla’s all-nighters, Hand, foot, and mouth disease, and all of the other “firsts” while coping with the fact that I was overseas, in harm’s way, unable to assist as needed.
It has been a process to reintegrate with my wife and daughter since my return. Makayla has grown so much; she is walking, and we recently celebrated her first birthday. I cannot think of a better way to say, “Thank you, I love you, and you are an incredible mother and wife,” than a date night for just the two of us. – Sergeant First Class Matthew Johnson
Second Place: Couple’s Massage at Optimal Massage
Frank Piscitello and I have been friends for almost 13 years. We’d always had our ups and downs, and while everyone said we’d end up together some day, we never really believed it until two years ago when it finally happened.
But that’s not the reason he’s wonderful–anyone can get together. What makes him the best is that I have a five-year-old son, and Frank has been the only father he has ever known. He picked up the pieces my son’s biological father left behind (even before we were together as a couple), and when we get married this May, he’s going to be adopting him. Frank selflessly gives all of himself to make us a real family. – Kelly Delnero
Third Place: Happy Hour at Landmark Americana
I am currently pregnant with our fourth child, and my husband Paul is a stay-at-home father, swim coach, and all-around home fixer-upper. At the end of this month we are moving out of our house to live in a 2 bed, 1 ½ bath townhouse for three months while our house is rebuilt to accommodate the new baby.
Because I am pregnant, he has to pack our whole house and put everything in PODS. On top of all of this, I can be quite demanding (or, let’s be honest, bitchy). He never raises his voice and remains calm at all times, and is an impossibly fabulous and loving, attentive father, friend and husband.
Forget the date–what he deserves is lots and lots of drinks with his friends. No kids. No wife. –Tiffany Boden