Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Fort Meade
Number of Deployments: 3
Number of PCS's: 4
Share your military spouse story:
I have been a military spouse for 10 years. I have three amazing beautiful boys who call me mom. I was born and raised along with my husband in Miami, Florida. It was really when I got married to my high school sweetheart that this wonderful journey of military life and self discovery began. We got married over the phone, yep you read that right, the great state of Texas has this marriage by proxy thing. At 20 years old, I left all that I had ever know and headed west to our very first duty station in California. We spent four years there where I really learned what being a military spouse was about. Experienced my first deployment and that really sucked, but I learned from it! I started to actively volunteer and my community and get involved with local spouses club. Where I met some amazing spouses who showed me the ropes and shared their stories and experiences with me. Towards our last year there my husband had decided to retrain in a different career field so that brought me to my first PCS back to Texas for only six months, which I’m not even sure why I bothered to unpack anything haha. I was again involved with the community and the spouse club in volunteerism and loves every moment of my time there. We PCS again to where we are now and I am absolutely thriving here. A month after I arrived I decide I was going to jump right in and get involved with the enlisted spouses club at Fort Meade and I am forever grateful I did! Through my volunteer experience with them I developed into a better leader. I was given opportunities to hone in my skills and to improve in areas of myself. This place provide a way to keep my resume full of worthwhile experiences while I was a stay at home mom. It is this experience that has gotten me hired on at jobs. I experienced my first ever 18 month deployment. I survived it because of the community I had built here. When I think of my military spouse story I think of how blessed I am with the experiences and friendships I have made.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I just put on our annual Children’s Holiday party for all of Fort Meade. This involved me leading a group of nineteen military spouses sub committees leaders to cover all details from Parking our guest to creating an obstacle course to decorating the event itself. Over 1,000 man hours put in for this four event. This requires attention to detail, providing feedback to plans, communicating effectively what your desired plans are. Keeping my leaders motivated so they are pouring from full cups into their committee. Managing a $10,000 budget and being trusted to do and trusting my team to manage their own budgets as well. Having a positive attitude to get you through all the stressful moments that come along with planning this large of an event. Being flexible which I think all military spouses are great at doing. This is one of my favorite events we put on.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I am very involved in this military community ! I currently serve as Vice President to the Enlisted Spouses Club and am President of the Thrift Shop Council and serve as a key spouse for my husbands squadron. I was previously President for two years as well. I also run a fantastic military spouses book club with some amazing spouses. At every base we have been stationed at I make it a point to get involved it such an easy way to make friends and make a difference in the community I live and am a part of.
Describe how you support your community:
I provide support to my military community by involving myself with an organization that gives back directly to spouses and their families. We give back financially through our scholarship program to get spouses and dependents to school help with those financial burdens. I give back with my time through planning special events for families and for military spouses and cultivating an environment where I am developing leaders and helping them Pursue any all goals. Military life is hard but with tour tribe you can achieve it all.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for community. Military life is definitely not for the faint of heart. It would be 1000 times harder if there wasn’t someone in your corner who understands the lifestyle and comes along side you. I am absolutely fortunate that I have that. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t Giving that back and being that for my community. There is something to be said about serving others and all that this tribe teaches you.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have been fortunate enough to engage my community at community council events, I have been interviewed for various newspaper articles and have spoken at commanders call events and even represented spouses at community covenant meeting with local chamber of commerce.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
To advocate for spouses in more community leadership roles. To keep building more leaders and to inspire more volunteers in there local community.