Community Gem: Maria Frutiger helps military spouses

Maria Frutiger was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Mindy Schwickerath of Riverside, who said she’s worked with Frutiger in Blue Star Families. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
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Maria Frutiger was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Mindy Schwickerath of Riverside, who said she’s worked with Frutiger in Blue Star Families. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

XENIA — Maria Frutiger remembers her own early years as a military spouse and it guides her volunteer efforts as a Key Spouse at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, assisting other military spouses

“When they are not near their family they can have family away from family,” said Frutiger, 37 of Xenia, who is also active in Blue Star Families. “When somebody’s sick or has baby it can be chaotic or stressful and the meal train is a way to be helpful, to say, ‘I’m here. I care. Here’s a little bit of relief I can offer.’”

Frutiger and her husband, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Frutiger, have moved eight times during his 20 years in the military and they have been in the Dayton region for almost three years. She homeschools their four children.

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Frutiger said she enjoys helping military spouses meet others in the community because she knows how hard it is to be new and not know anyone.

“I see a lot of people reaching out trying to find friends. If they don’t have kids they want to connect with other people,” she said. “Also those with little kids want to find other families that have little kids. Some have teenagers and they want to make connections with other families that have teenagers.”

Frutiger was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Mindy Schwickerath of Riverside, who said she’s worked with Frutiger in Blue Star Families.

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“She has been amazing at helping to plan some of the events with Blue Star Families,” said Schwickerath. “She went around delivering the gift packages for Blue Star.”

When Schwickerath’s son was in the hospital Frutiger was “one of the first to step up and say, ‘what do you need’” and brought home-cooked meals to help out, she said.

“With a Hispanic background I grew up with a very close knit family,” Frutiger said. “We did everything together and everything for each other. I would say that probably has a lot to contribute to that drive in me.”

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