Meet the 2020 AFI MSOY Top 18!

nicole solis

Branch:
Air Force

Duty Station:
Fort Sam Houston

Number of Deployments:
2

Number of PCS's:
3

Share your military spouse story:
I’m Nicole, I’m married to the Air Force - oops, sorry. I meant I’m married to Alex. BUT let’s be real - we all know that you’re really married to the DOD when you love someone in uniform. We have a (now) 2 year old and 2 fluffy cats. My husband has deployed or otherwise been away from me/us more times than I’d like to count, so: -I know what it’s like to walk alone, even when you’re very much so taken. 🚶🏻‍♀️💍 -I know what’s it’s like to cry with your toddler when he just wants Daddy, but Daddy isn’t around at the moment. 😭👨‍👦 -I know what it’s like to PCS to a different part of the world. 🇩🇪❤️ -I know what it’s like to leave a duty station that you’re absolutely in love with - and be completely heartbroken over it. 💔 -I know what it’s like to have to leave your tribe that truly feel like an extension of your own heart, just to have to do it all over again - and hopefully meet some people who can somewhat live up to them. 😓😢 -I know what it’s like to feel completely isolated. Everywhere you go. 😥 If you’re a fellow MilSpouse - I. Feel. Your. Pain. I’ve been there, done that a few times, and even became a Key Spouse in my husband's squadron because of it. I was appalled at how isolating our most recent PCS felt, so I was determined to change how future incoming spouses were welcomed. I started a business, Canolie Creations, as a way to keep myself busy during Alex’s first deployment, but it quickly went viral and orders were coming in like HOT CAKES! I’ve been making pretty things since 2014. I’m currently in the season of life where there aren’t enough hours in the day and my espresso machine can’t keep up with the amount of shots I feel like I need daily ☕️😴, but I wouldn’t trade #ToddlerLife or #MilitaryLife for anything in the world, because I don't know any other demographic of people who can say that their heart literally lives in 18 different places all at once 💕.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I am the one and only Key Spouse for my spouse's squadron - I pioneered the program here when I saw a dire need for security forces families stationed here at Fort Sam to connect with others. I am also an active volunteer New Military Spouse Mentor with the Military Spouse Advocacy Network, I help military families #PCSBetter through my work with MilHousing Network, and further the mission of military spouse entrepreneurship with my volunteer efforts with the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs. In addition to all of the above, my business, Canolie Creations, primarily focuses on handmade military support accessories.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I am the one and only Key Spouse for my spouse's squadron - I pioneered the program here when I saw a dire need for security forces families stationed here at Fort Sam to connect with others. Since the creation of the program just about a year ago, I have hosted family days, volunteer opportunities, deployed family dinners, meals for single Airmen living in the dorms, deployment support for the family on the Homefront, and much more.

Describe how you support your community:
Through my Key Spouse role, I have successfully created a sense of family within a squadron where it previously did not exist. I have hosted family days, volunteer opportunities, deployed family dinners, meals for single Airmen living in the dorms, deployment support for the family on the Homefront, and much more. I've won 5 awards in one short year, due to my contributions within my Key Spouse role: Squadron, Group, and Wing Key Spouse of the 3rd Quarter, 2019, Squadron and Group Key Spouse of the year, 2019.

What platform do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for military spouse entrepreneurship and employment. We are in a unique situation, where we can not always hold down in-person employment for more than a few years at a time. The skills on our resumes are vast, but so are the employment gaps and sometimes lack of transferrable skills. As military spouses, the more opportunities we create for ourselves, the better off we will all be for it.

How have you spread the message of your platform?
When it comes to military spouse entrepreneurship and employment, I have spread this message by being an entrepreneur myself, and by volunteering my time with organizations such as the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
I hope to be able to connect with other trailblazing military spouses all around the world, and to make as many fellow milspouses as possible, feel a little less lonely, and create long-lasting opportunities that they can take with them no matter where the military sends them!

Nominations

Nicole is my spouse and the mother to my child, she is nothing but amazing. This year she successfully founded and ran the key spouse program for the 502 Security Forces Squadron at JBSA - Ft Sam Houston. Nicole is the most selfless and dedicated key spouse I have ever encountered, putting in consistent hours meeting with new families, organizing squadron events and meetings with the squadron Commander to help create a better life for single airmen and families. All while remaining an amazing, supportive wife and loving mother to our 2 year old son. Also Nicole won Spouse of the 3rd Quarter for the 502 Security Forces Squadron, and the 502 Security Forces Group. I can think of no one more deserving of this award, than my wife Nicole Solis.
- by alex solis