Like many other military families, after being deployed to the Middle East, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremy Burkey had to rely on his spouse to hold down the fort while he was away.

Burkey said, "I know firsthand how hard it is being away from my family, but I can’t imagine being in her shoes to carry on and keep things together back home. People thank me all the time for my military service…my wife doesn’t get to hear that like I do."

Burkey reached out to Saluting Sacrifices, a nonprofit based out of Charleston, S.C., whose mission is to recognize the unsung heroes of the military, the spouses and loved ones who have made countless sacrifices in their commitment to support men and women in uniform.

His wife, Randi Burkey, was honored at a surprise event on April 9 at the Whole Hog Cafe in North Little Rock. Saluting Sacrifices, along with local area businesses, recognized her with gifts for the sacrifices she has made supporting her husband, and in turn, the country.

"It is an honor to provide an outlet of thanks to families supporting our nation’s mission," said Susan Jasin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Saluting Sacrifices. "Now that word is spreading, we have seen a large increase in the number of nominations from servicemen and women looking to thank their support units back home. It really is beautiful to hear their stories and provide them an opportunity to give back to their families."

September Stankus, a recently honored unsung hero in Temecula, Calif., stated, "the feeling of being appreciated for the hard work we do on a daily basis is indescribable."

Donors to Saluting Sacrifices and the following Little Rock area businesses rallied to show their appreciation for Randi Burkey: Whole Hog Cafe, Mind Over Matter, The Peabody Little Rock Hotel, Riverfront Steakhouse, Target, Red Lobster, Massage Envy and Infinite Love Photography.

Stankus said, "…to see my community be involved was impressive because it showed that they also support the families that are left behind when duty calls."

Saluting Sacrifices is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting military families.

For more information about nominating a deserving loved one or ways you can support our mission, please visit