This article from Stars and Stripes profiles U.S. Mint designer susan Gamble. The article is unillustrated. The images here are from the U.S. Mint web site. -Editor Got any Alaska, Oklahoma or Washington state quarters jingling in your pocket? Pull them out and take a good look at the handiwork of a military spouse.
Susan Gamble, an Air Force wife and Master Designer for the U.S. Mint, created the reverse (tails) of those spendable, collectible coins. In fact, her artwork appears on many coins, including an upcoming 2009 penny commemorating Abraham Lincolnís presidency.
Susan described the significance of one design, a 2007 Martha Washington coin, part of a gold commemorative series honoring presidential spouses.
"Itís the only coin Iíve done that is my tribute to all of my military wife sisters," she said from her home in San Antonio.
Her design emphasizes Mrs. Washingtonís role as a military wife, depicting her sewing a button on a soldierís uniform. An inscription reads "First Lady of the Continental Army."
"She traveled with George Washington," Susan said, "and travel wasnít getting on a plane. It was very arduous. She went to Valley Forge."
"Thatís what military spouses do," she said. "On those cold, depressing days at Valley Forge, she treated the wounded. She organized other ladies in the area. She would have been doing needlework, sewing uniforms, socks and mending."
In addition to her mint position, Susan has her own graphic design business, and her portfolio encompasses a variety of commercial and fine art.
Persistence and flexibility have bolstered her artistic success during 30 years as an Air Force wife, she said. "A lot of it is just pure one word: Tenacity. You really to have to start out from scratch every time you move."
At another intersection of Susanís artistic and military paths, she designed the Air Force Combat Action Medal, initiated in 2007. She was invited to see the award presented to the first recipients by then Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley.
"My eyes teared up when the first troops were presented their medals," Susan said. "As much as my coin work means to me, this is my military family. This is much more important emotionally to me.
"These will pass down to my children as part of a life story."
To read the complete article, see: This spouse right on the money (www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=140&article=62131)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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