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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Valentine’s Day just another day apart for military couples

Tracy Ferrez sits with her son Riko, 11, right, and her daughter Aitanna, 8. She and her husband Chris will be apart today since he is finishing a tour in Hawaii. Aitanna holds a photo of her parents who have been together for 14 years. 
 (Liz Kishimoto / The Spokesman-Review)

Today will be another Valentine’s Day apart for Chris and Tracy Ferrez, kind of like the one 14 years ago when Chris first professed his love from half a world away.

Like many military couples, Chris and Tracy have spent weeks and months apart.

“She’s my best friend. There’s a whole lot of trust with that,” Chris, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, said by phone from Hawaii, where he is finishing a tour at U.S. Pacific Command. “I know what I have to come home to when I get back.”

The two met in November 1990 at a church service in England. She was visiting a friend.

He was about ready to be deployed for action in the Gulf War.

After she came back to Spokane a few days later, they struck up a correspondence.

By Valentine’s Day – even though they’d never kissed and spent little time in each other’s presence – they knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

From Saudi Arabia, he ordered her a dozen roses for Valentine’s Day and called her in Spokane and read her a poem.

Since they were profiled in a Spokesman-Review Valentine’s Day story in 1992, they married and moved around the globe. They’ve lived in England, Texas, Florida, Virginia, North Dakota and Hawaii.

Tracy and their two children, 11-year-old Riko and 8-year-old Aitanna, moved back to Spokane last year, and Chris plans to follow them in May. They hope Spokane will be their last move.

Tracy credits her Catholic faith and two children for helping her through all the separations, calling her son “my rock” and her daughter a “shining star in our wild blue yonder.”

For Valentine’s Day this year, Tracy and the kids sent Chris a care package that includes a card, some snacks and a pair of boxers – something Tracy said most military men can use.

“When we’re farther apart, we seem to be very strong,” Tracy said. “When times are tough, you can count on each other if you have that trust.”