MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some special military spouses are being celebrated. The Mall of America asked people to submit stories in honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day. As a thank you, they gave five Minnesotans a day of pampering and fun.

The Brandenbergs get a night away from their Carver County home. They’re staying at the Radisson Blu at Mall of America as part of the celebration.

Jeremy Brandenberg recently retired after 16 years in the Army Reserves. He believes it’s his wife Arielle who deserves the thanks: she had their first child on her own and has helped Jeremy cope with life after deployment.

“It’s important to recognize the spouses also that all the sacrifices that they do and go through,” Jeremey said.

“No one teaches you how to cope with depression, anxiety, PTSD and the things they’ve seen and you just have to figure it out,” Arielle said

There’s an itinerary filled with fun, from rides and experiences for the kids to a massage for Arielle and dinner out. The Mall of America plans it all and it’s all donated as part of Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

“I feel pretty lucky that I get to have this day to go and enjoy our kids and our family and the things that we’ve gone through,” Arielle Brandenberg said.

Veteran Tony Nelson manages life in Owatonna for their five kids while his wife, Capt. Dana Nelson works as an RN with the Air Force Reserves. She’ll deploy to Qatar this summer.

“It’s difficult at times, but you just make it work,” Tony Nelson said.

Capt. Nelson and the rest of the family will join Tony and his youngest child Eli at the mall. While they play, he’s looking forward to a little R & R.

“It’s nice to be appreciated for making the sacrifices you have to make,” Tony Nelson said.

On Saturday, the five families will head to the Twins game.

Jennifer Mayerle

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