Hamburg Woman In FINALS for 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year Award

March 7, 2019

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

UPDATE: YES! Samantha WON!! Thank you to everyone who voted! How amazing.



“Congratulations to our 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year® Branch Winners! We are SO proud of every single nominee, base winner, Top 18 candidate and NOW our Branch winners! #AFIMSOYFAMILY #MSOY19

Army: Maria Mendez Reed – Fort Hood
Marine Corps: Holly Carter Vega – MacDill AFB
Navy: Michelle D. Norman – Norfolk Naval Station
Air Force: Katelyn Tinsley – Seymour Johnson AFB
Coast Guard: Jessica Manfre – District 5
National Guard: Samantha Gomolka – West Virginia”


Samantha is in the final round and voting only lasts for 24 hours. From 1 pm march 7th to 1 pm March 8th. PLEASE VOTE. IT only takes a second.. click on THIS LINK TO VOTE FOR SAMANTHA GOMOLKA!

Good luck, Samantha!!!


UPDATE: Samantha won!!!!  She won her branch and now there will be one more round to chose ONE winner!!!  This is amazing! Congratulations to Samantha and her family.  We will keep you posted on the next round!!!

UPDATE:  Samantha made it to the top 8!  We have 24 hours to vote!  Here’s the link!



Samantha Gomolka has been nominated for the 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year Award. Samantha, who is from Hamburg, is co-founder of Project 33 Memorial Foundation. 

Here is Samantha’s story in her own words:

“My name is Samantha Gomolka. I have been a military spouse for 14 years, and have three children ages 11, 5, 2. I am employed as a full time Physician Assistant in the field of Dermatology. My love story with my husband dates back all the way to Eighth grade. I had a crush on him during our study hall; he was a boy with big glasses who had eyes for another girl in my class! I laugh when I tell the story of our “love triangle”. We developed a friendship in high school and worked at the same restaurant; he as a pizza boy and I was a bus girl. I would keep him company at the end of our shifts while he finished up. He would make me a chicken parmesan sandwich as I would watch him wash pots and pans. Our senior year of high school, we would go on “secret dates” because he had a girlfriend, and I had a boyfriend. I would never kiss him though – I believe to this day that is what kept him coming back! We went on one official date in 1999, the evening before I was set to return to college. He told me he loved me that night, and I truly felt the same way. After we parted ways that night, it was 5 years before we spoke again. I was away at college, and 9/11 happened with many deployments and a whole lot of life happening in that time. I was dating a boy, but I could not get Michael out of my head – I was determined to track Michael down! It was the early days of the internet in 2004, but I was able to search his name and found a Memorial website for one of his friends that was KIA. It had pictures of my husband and listed his unit, so I started my detective work! It took 6 months to find his phone number, but I called him July 23, 2004. We had talked from 11pm until the next morning when he had to leave for PT. Initially, he was mad at me for never calling him back in 1999, but then through the course of that phone call we talked about our life, our plans and the children we would have. Fate had it that Michael was set to leave his unit the next week and was moving back to our hometown where I was living. We started dating when he returned home and were married 5 months later! If any of my friends had lived our love story, I would have told them that they were crazy! Who gets married after 5 months of dating, or even decides to get married on a single phone call? But it all worked out and has been amazing. I credit our solid foundation set in friendship that had led to a successful marriage. We just celebrated our 14th anniversary this week.”

To read more and vote for Samantha CLICK HERE.  (Voting is only Feb 11th and 12th then it’s narrowed to top 18 and another vote!) We will keep you posted!



About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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