Number of Deployments:
Number of PCS's:
Share your military spouse story:
I have been an Air Force spouse for close to 12 years. I have always been a hard worker and for the last 5 years I have transitioned to working hard at being a stay at home mom. I consider myself very independent, caring, reliable, adaptive, creative, supportive and friendly. My husband and I both grew up on the East Coast, in Rhode Island. The first assignment he received out of tech school put us at Hill AFB Utah, a base 2300 miles from home, where we spent the next 8 years. From there he spent 13 months in Osan, S. Korea, then PCS'd to Camp Darby, Italy where myself and 2 children followed 2 months later in 2018. While I may not have a lot of PCS experience, I do have experience and knowledge of what it means to pick up your semi - settled life and start over somewhere completely new. Being a part of a military family is not always easy. Being supportive of our spouse and their work, their good days and their bad. Helping our children transition into new schools and make new friends. While also trying ourselves to make new friends, start new jobs and learn the ins and outs of our new duty station. We could all use a little help now and then. I have always loved helping people. I'm the last minute dog-sitter, the ask me anything and I'll find the answer, the shoulder to cry on, the look on the bright side and the what can I do to help girl. Which is why I jumped at the opportunity to help do whatever I can for the Girl Scouts here at Camp Darby to become a more well known and included part of this community as well as joining the New Comer's Transition Committee to help ease the chaos sometimes associated with PCSing. I want to help families coming to this community to be prepared, optimistic, excited and ready to enjoy as much as they can. I feel extremely blessed, as a girl from a small town, in the smallest state in the US, doing my part to bring friendliness, knowledge and a sense of "home" to families stationed in Tuscany.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
In May of 2019 I decided to take over as Girl Scouts Overseas Community Chair, Troop Leader, Registrar, Cookie Manager and Treasurer for the former who was PCSing. After taking over, one of my goals was to ensure our girls were more involved with our community. This is very important to me because Girl Scouts is one of only a few private organizations geared towards children. On a weekly basis I represent Girl Scouts at various community meetings to include: CLIF, CR2C, Benvenuti and Community Informational meetings. This allows for me to establish communications between multiple organizations, providing Girl Scouts greater opportunities for involvement. I have also joined the New Comer's Transition Committee to help to revamp the online PCS Guide as well as to give insight and experience to integrate into the informational packet for newly PCS'd families.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
During our Camp Darby Community Fest/Car Show event I coordinated a bake sale with MWR, BOSS, Friends of Camp Darby, parents and other Girl Scout Troop Leaders allowing us to earn $600 towards Girl Scout's end of year camping trip. One hundred dollars of earned money was used to purchase cat food to help support the stray cats here on our installation. As a way to retain our girls' involvement within our community, I orchestrated a collection drive to send care packages to deployed troops, resulting in 6 full boxes for 3 deployed locations. I organized Girl Scouts' participation to pass out goodies and run a game during the Halloween Trunk or Treat event for both, our installation and local nationals attendance. During our recent Holiday Tree Lighting event, I coordinated with FRGs and MWR to have girls hand out flyers for the event and provide baked goods for sale which earned us $60 to add to troop funds.
Describe how you support your community:
I have supported our community by hosting weekly Girl Scout meetings, attending community meetings, ensuring Girl Scouts and their parents / guardians have equal participation / volunteer opportunities in any upcoming events. I am currently working with base leadership to obtain a new permanent meeting space as well as storage space for Girl Scouts. Very recently I was humbled with the opportunity to represent Camp Darby along with 3 other spouses, in Rome, where the Second Lady, Mrs. Karen Pence, visited to speak with spouses regarding employment issues while overseas.
What platform do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for empowering girls and families through community service opportunities and volunteerism. With hopes to bridge any gap between civilian and military members through our community by relaying that by working together, we can make a difference. In such a small community made up of active duty Air Force, Army, civilian DOD employees, Italian Army and local nationals, staying connected while also supporting each other are essential parts of building a strong community. With Girl Scouts participating in countless activities base wide, we are strengthening our environment with events such as garbage pick up, continually recruiting new members and volunteers and supporting stray cats around our base. These events really brought out everyone in the community to be involved, showing our Girl Scouts that everyone can make a difference just by working together.
How have you spread the message of your platform?
Over this last year I have completely stepped out of my comfort zone by volunteering as Overseas Community Chair of USA Girl Scouts Overseas, Treasurer, Cookie Manager, Registrar, Troop Leader and also joined the New Comer's Transition Committee. This wasn't easy for me, but it is what I use as a platform when working within the community. To make sure everyone is aware of all our current events and supportive opportunities within our community, I post on social media, design/hang flyers around base, and convey information during base meetings.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I understand that being the new family at a foreign base comes with its own set of complications. Sometimes, we have to take a leap and try something new. That being said, without volunteers taking over for those of us who will soon PCS, these programs and organizations would not continue to thrive. Be the change, be the good you want to see in the world and pay it forward. With the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title, I would encourage other current and future members to keep trying, to stay dedicated and to never give up. "Be the change you wish to see in the world".
Brandy is such a delight to be around. He smile is infectious. Brandy is very sweet and kind. She is currently volunteering her time at camp darby with the Girl Scouts and they are doing a fantastic job with the girls. Brandy is a relaxing and calm presence in a sometimes overwhelming dynamic at camp darby. She is always willing to go to meetings in the community and help out where she can.
- by brooke elliott