Ashley Calderon

Branch: Navy

Duty Station: Joint Expedintionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story

Number of Deployments: 3

Number of PCS's: 4

Share your military spouse story:
I have been a Navy spouse for almost 15 years, my husband has been both active duty as well as reservist, he is currently a reservist on active orders. I have struggled with infertility for 15 years, it was so hard and draining trying get pregnant to then fall into a deep depression due to the pains of infertility after many years of struggling and seeing drs and spending thousands towards infertility treatment. To then decide to adopt our two sons in which that process was long and draining on its own. We are now trying again with the infertility journey hoping that we can add to our family.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
During the Giving Tuesday Military initiative I was able to rally our command with a coat drive as well as gather signatures on holiday cards which we sent to a Hospice in Arizona. Each month I hold spouse gatherings to boost moral in our community.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I have been a command family ombudsman for two years, I was a community ambassador for the #givingtuesdaymilitary movement this past December 2020 for Virginia Beach in which I assisted in a community coat drive for a homeless shelter and passed out flowers to random passengers at our local airport just to show random acts of kindness I am currently writing a blog about my personal journey through infertility adoption and military life, I want to ensure others going through this that they are not alone.

Describe how you support your community:
I have a passion for love and family, and with my own personal experiences with infertility, adoption and the military life I am doing what I can to create the bond to help those with a similar story to come together and support each other through it all.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I want to support the military family but more than that I am supporting the "Uncommon" Military family, the families created through infertility or adoption. Infertility is a painful process emotionally, physically and mentally. I want to help those going through the pains of it all on top of navigating through the military life style.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I currently have a Facebook page that I post to almost daily, I share my own personal experiences as well as resources to help spread awareness, I am still in the infancy of expanding to every military family I can, but I am also spreading the word through word of mouth and have plans to eventually expand to a possible annual gathering with families or web based interviews.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
I wan to help others in any way I can, we are always so rightfully so concerned with our military members and their mental health due to Military related issues but what of those spouses and service members going through the pains of infertility or the struggles and emotional rollercoasters of adoption.