Duty Station: Fort Huachuca
Number of Deployments: 4
Number of PCS's: 11
Share your military spouse story:
My military spouse story begins when I met my spouse. I was 18 years old and a freshman in college and I had a plan. A plan for my career, where I would live, a plan for what my life would be. After meeting my future husband, I began on a path that would teach me that plans are wonderful, a guide, an idea, but real life and love, may send you a detour, a new route, an adventure that you could never plan. He graduated and was commissioned into the Army in 1996. I graduated in 1997 with degrees in Psychology and Social Work and we were married a month later. Four months after that we were moving overseas. Our adventure continues. We have been married for 24 years, have 4 children, have PCS'd 11 times, lived in three countries, and in seven different states. For a young woman who had a plan…it is still uncanny to me that each of my children call a different state their birthplace – needless to say, we have all grown and gained so much insight as a military family. I have viewed each PCS as an invitation to start anew, an opportunity to explore the world, to make lifelong friends, to give of myself for a greater good, and to become an active member in each community. This outlook has enabled me to thrive in this military life and truly embrace being a military spouse. Over the past 24 years I have used my education, training, employment, and experience as a military spouse, strong military and family supporter, and volunteer to fuel my passion for serving and supporting others. I have learned when I am surrounded by other military spouses, I am in the best of company. A powerhouse of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Due to the nature of a military lifestyle, I have also seen resilience, passion, strength, pain, resourcefulness, empowerment, dedication, inspiration, and the hope we share with one another. This journey is ongoing and offers each of us an opportunity for personal growth and the opportunity to mentor and support others we meet along the way.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I have had ample opportunities to grow and serve as a leader / mentor / advisor. I have served as a point of contact, treasurer, leader, and advisor in Soldier and Family Readiness Groups, Family Readiness Groups, and Family Support Groups. I have also lead Casualty Response Teams and served as their Coordinator / Trainer. I am a certified US Army Master Resiliency Instructor. I have facilitated courses enabling others to complete their Facilitating Leadership and Group Skills and Executive Spouse Leadership Development courses at the US Army War College. I am a community leader who has served as President of the Fort Huachuca Spouses’ Club and in a variety of other roles in this and many other clubs. I also lead in our community - on parish council, parent teacher organizations, school site councils, the USO, and with the local Chamber of Commerce and Military Affairs Committee. I seek to strengthen & support the military, civilian, and spouse members of our community.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
Each time we PCS I dive headfirst into our new community. If there is a volunteer opportunity out there, I am a happy to serve. It is the best way to discover what your community and its members have to offer and what you may be able to further contribute. This has looked very different over the course of the last 24 years and I have filled a variety of roles over time. I have volunteered, I have served as a leader, and what I have enjoyed even more is the ability to mentor, coach, support, and advise others as they grow in their abilities and comfort with leadership. As a spouse and mother I have served in a variety of organizations to include PTOs, PTAs, parish councils, school site councils, youth athletic and sports clubs, community and military spouse clubs, SFRGs, FRGs, FSGs, and in service to other non-profit organizations such as the USO, the Salvation Army, and the Armed Services YMCA.
Describe how you support your community:
I am an active member of my community, both off and on our military installation. To fully enjoy life and be engaged with my community I aim to be an active and impactful member of my community. There is no better way to enhance resilience world-wide. When supporting your community you gain a wealth of knowledge, true experience, strong personal and professional relationships, an opportunity for collaboration and an ability to strengthen and serve your community. Most recently I rejoined the workforce outside of my home. After 16 years of serving in primarily a volunteer capacity, I began working for the USO as the Operations and Programs Manager for Southeastern Arizona - serving the active duty, national guard, reserves and their families. I am able to design and offer programing, activities, events, and volunteer opportunities tailored to the military installations and those that I serve. A new way to make a positive impact and support those who serve our nation.
What do you advocate for? Why?
Does it sound too cliché to say DO GOOD. If we each do what we can, where we can, and when we can – imagine all the good we can do together. As the military spouse population is a transient force, it affords us the opportunity to share of ourselves, our strengths, and our skills in every location we serve in. In addition to that…helping others to identify, grow, and strengthen their skills, strengths, and passions serves us all. We are a world-wide force, the good we can do has no limit when we work together, embrace the lifestyle we live, and encourage each other. I am also very excited to support and assist military spouses who are preparing for a return to the workforce outside of their home. It was a rather new transition for me and after 16 years of volunteering my time and my efforts, realizing that volunteer experience, is experience that can build one heck of a resume, was key.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have embraced this military lifestyle and encouraged others to do the same. Stepped out of my comfort zone and dove into new countries and cultures. I have learned to let go of “the plan” and everything that I can not control and focus on strengthening myself, my family, and those around me. I have served to the best of my ability to be a strength, resource, and of assistance to those around me and encourage and empower others to do the same. I have represented military spouses at community events and served as a guest speaker and panelist on several occasions regarding my military spouse experience and the strengths, fortitude, and the employability of military spouses in general. We are a powerhouse, a force for good, and I am honored to be a military spouse. Communication is one of strengths and I have worked with a variety of media outlets to include radio, television, print, publishing, and social media. I was also able to share this as a MSOY Base Winner (2018) in PA.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I hope to share and promote the idea that as we (military spouses) celebrate our strengths, lifestyle, and the contributions and support we give to our service members, families, workplace, communities, and each other, we can encourage and empower others to do the same. Military spouses are amazing…shouldn’t everyone know that? *Humbled to be nominated, honored to be a military spouse. Thank you for this opportunity.
From the outside looking in, it is obvious that Aimee Randazzo cares about the military community here at Fort Huachuca, AZ. Her position with USO Arizona gives her the platform to serve the community that directly impacts our service members, military spouses, and our military kids. The volunteer work she does in other organizations within the community shows that she cares and believes in giving back.
- by Candy Olivares