Branch: Space Force
Duty Station: Nellis Air Force Base
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 3
Share your military spouse story:
I really hate calling this "my" story because it's really "our" story. Every decision along the way my husband and I have made has been as a team and every accomplishment and failure we share. We joined in 2003, however, I didn't really become an active spouse in the military community until we both decided this was a career more than a temporary job. I eventually quit working to become a fulltime mom, and we committed 100% to military life. No longer working and going stir crazy, I found myself interacting more with spouses and the unit he worked, I realized rather quickly that I really enjoyed being involved and actively participating. I became a Key Spouse in 2016 and found it more fulfilling than any paying job I had previously. I felt valued, appreciated, and that I was making a real difference. It gave me a purpose I didn't realize I needed. It also gave me a new appreciation for my husband and has made me a stronger supporter of his career. We have experienced multiple schools, TDY's, a remote tour, and a deployment. These events have resulted in months to years away from each other. As a result, this left me relying on our military family for support and guidance. All of these were pivotal moments for me as a spouse and where I grew the most, but also where I learned the importance of paying it forward for other spouses. The challenge of integrating with a unit while he is gone is very real for families and I want to do what I can to make it as seamless and easy as possible.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
When my husband was in the Weapons Instructors Course, I quickly became aware of how challenging this course was on the students and the families. Since becoming an instructor of the course, I took the opportunity to make that change for students and their families. I started a Weapons Family Supporters group that consists of graduate spouses who volunteer to help support families of students as they go through the course. The group sends out cards, gifts, phone calls, provide airport pickups, and flower delivery, amongst other things. At the end of their class, they can now be a supporter for future classes and make a positive impact on more families who will endure the hardship they just went through. It has been a great way to let spouses know how important they are and that their sacrifices are just as impactful as their service members. This group has ensured an enduring bond of support that stretches beyond one unit.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
My biggest hope and goal, wherever we are stationed, is to make a difference for the better by supporting others and learning about them as much as possible. This last year has been unique with the establishment of the Space Force. Not only am I a voice of our squadron as Key Spouse, but now I've also become a voice of local Space Force members as the only Guardian unit on an Air Force Base. I participate regularly in town hall meetings and Key Spouse training held by the base while also participating in base events as much as possible. For our Space Force unit, I ensure to disseminate information to our families from the base while also conducting events to honor their service. For example, our unit arranged the distribution of dozens of bouquets of roses for our spouses in honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Additionally, we continually host spouse dinners and events, coordinate unit luncheons, organize holiday activities, and prepare multiple unit open houses.
Describe how you support your community:
My time as a military spouse has always been about connecting with others and making sure they feel like their voices are being heard. Every spouse has a story and I do what I can to find ways to let them tell it. It is important to be their advocate in acknowledging their accomplishments, recognizing their hardships, supporting their decisions, validating their feelings, and enabling them to be their best selves.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I feel like when you start advocating for one thing, you end up advocating for so much more. I started off really focusing on the importance of morale, resiliency and overall support of service members and their families. As I got to know more and more spouses, I became more aware of struggles they were facing that I hadn't experienced. A primary struggle being employment opportunities as they move from one location to the next. While military spouses are some of the most hardworking, creative go-getters I've ever known, many employers do not want to hire us because we are military. Military spouses' unemployment is significantly higher than the national average and most military families that need a second income do not have access to it. My hope is by making a difference for these families in one way, it has a domino effect and alleviates other stressors.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have had the pleasure to work with the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), a networking and professional development organization supporting military spouses who balance their own goals and ambitions with the military lifestyle. As an NMSN representative, I met with the District 4 Representative staffers for the state of Nevada and discussed with them the importance of their co-sponsorship of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit Bill. Our goal was to get military spouses included in this bill in hopes to help provide them with more employment opportunities. Unfortunately, we did not get spouses added to the WOTC. However, here are two impacts from the advocacy day: 1. After meeting with my representative, he ended up co-sponsoring HB 2974. 2. The NMSN recommendation to conduct a study on military spouse employment was included in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I would love to change how spouses, in general, are viewed. I think it is easy to get lost in spousal duties and obligations that we lose our own identity. I think we get overlooked as individuals separate from our military spouses and can easily get lost within units. We are expected to accomplish all of the tasks at home and rarely get recognized publicly for it. Society outside of the military views us as overly dependent on our military spouse, ultimately impacting employment opportunities. I want to flip the perspective so that, as a military spouse, we are valued and appreciated as accomplished and powerful individuals with the strength and determination to get things done.
I would be honored to nominate Aimee Selix. She is one of my husband's key spouse's for the 328th Weapons School at Nellis AFB. Aimees previous experience as a key spouse, along with the time I've personally spent with Aimee over the last 6 months, has been a game changer for our spouse environment/culture! She has shown a remarkable drive, passion for the team, and willingness to learn since my husband took command 6 short months ago. During this time, Aimee has gone above and beyond for both our instructors and weapon school student spouses to ensure they are well informed and supported during their individual time here. Above and beyond keeping the team well informed, Aimee's heart shines with spouse's who maybe struggling while their instructor/student is working long hours at the 328th. She's always the first one to step up and address the spouses and squadron needs through a call, text, letter, meal, gift or more. Aimee takes her role as key spouse as a true honor.
- by Hope Phipps
I have had the privilege of knowing--and serving closely with Aimee for the past six years. An award winning Key Spouse, Aimee is renowned for her care of her fellow military spouses, military families and service members in both the Air Force and Space Force.
In the beginning of COVID, Aimee lead the efforts to collect, organize and, working with the CAT, distribute 230 care packages for mission essential personnel of Schriever AFB, resulting in a significant boost of morale during a stressful and difficult time.
In addition, Aimee created a support and mentorship group for the spouses of those going through the elite and intense Weapons School. During each 6 month class, she unites and supports spouses that are geographically located throughout the country, helping to alleviate the stressors associated from being separated from their service members for six months.
Aimee is an outside the box, servant leader who passionately and genuinely cares for others. Aimee is MSOY22.
- by Jessica A Norsky