Duty Station: USAG Bavaria
Number of Deployments: 0
Number of PCS's: 2
Share your military spouse story:
My military life experience has been quite a journey. Seven years ago, I met my spouse, an active-duty Army soldier, through an online dating website. He was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and I was living in my hometown in Kentucky, already having graduated college and begun my professional career in Human Resources. He PCSed to Fort Knox, Kentucky a few months later, we fell in love, and married 13 months into our courtship. After we married, I resigned from my position, thinking I could easily get a job at the Army base where he was stationed. After all, Fort Knox is the home of Army Human Resources, and I'm a Human Resources professional! I had no idea that I would face 9 months of unemployment before finally accepting 2 part-time positions that left me underemployed. On the exact day that I had landed a Human Resources Specialist interview, my husband came home with recruiting duty orders. Just 3 short months later, we moved to a tiny civilian town in rural northern Iowa, hours away from the nearest base, where he was 1 of 4 active-duty military members in the area. It was quite a challenging assignment for both of us, but we used that time to the best of our abilities. I accepted a position on the staff at the area community college, decided to pursue a second Bachelor's degree, and became an "unofficial advocate" for the military community in the area. Ultimately, I left that position to accept a remote, part-time Human Resources position due to the birth of my son in late 2019. I returned to work when my son was 10 weeks old, and a mere week later, my husband received soft orders to Germany! Between receiving soft orders and arriving in Germany, a "little" thing called the pandemic happened. Although we were fortunate to remain healthy and employed, we both juggled working remotely from home while caring for a newborn. We arrived at USAG Bavaria in October 2020 and I've jumped in feet first (as much as one can during these times!)
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I'm incredibly passionate about using my civilian Human Resources skills to assist military members and military spouses in finding civilian employment. Outside of what I do for my "day job," I volunteer my time to provide military community members with additional career resources such as reviewing their resume, helping them to prepare for interviews, or just answering Human Resources-related questions.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
My level of involvement in the military community differs in comparison to other MSOY candidates, as 3 of my 6 years as a military spouse were during my spouse's assignment in a small civilian town without a military community, 1 year was spent adjusting to military life as a newlywed, and 1 year was spent "just surviving" during these unprecedented times. Additionally, some of the constraints of my life such as having a toddler and working outside of the home while pursuing an educational degree have limited me from making a massive impact on the military community in the way that I would like, but I strive to be a positive change through more "grassroots" efforts during this season of life. I frequently take plated meals to new parents in the community, make cookies for my spouse's company, and serve in the nursery at my church. I also volunteer at the base thrift store on a weekly basis.
Describe how you support your community:
Living overseas means that community support is vital, as we do not have easy access to our social support systems like we did back in the US. I host cookouts and game nights for my spouse's soldiers at our home so that they can build a community with one another outside of performing their work duties. I look for opportunities to connect with individuals who may need a friend, such as meeting them for coffee or taking them a takeout meal. I reach out to new parents and provide a listening ear as they adjust to the struggle of parenthood.
What do you advocate for? Why?
Enneagram 1's are known as "the advocates" and I truly live up to that nickname! I tend to "speak up" whenever I see something. As a military spouse who works outside of the home, I advocate for military spouses like myself who want to balance their professional career with their spouse's military career. I'm incredibly passionate about changing the military spouse employment statistics, as I know that spouse employment directly affects the retention of military members! Additionally, as the mama of a child with developmental delays, the sister of an individual with a chronic 'invisible' disability, and a previous employee of the Disability Services department at the community college at our last duty station, I speak up for people with disabilities whenever the opportunity arises. As a child, I was told I had a "big mouth" but as an adult, I hope to use that "big mouth" for good by being a voice to those who may not have a voice!
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have spread the message of my platform by engaging on a one-on-one basis with individuals, and of course, through social media.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
My hope is to use the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title to provide better social and support systems for the military families in USAG Bavaria. I also hope to use the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title to advocate for military families with children that have a special medical need, and military families with a working professional spouse.
Bailey has been deeply involved with the community of USAG Bavaria since her arrival in October 2020. She regularly volunteers at the Grafenwohr Thrift Store, logging an average of 3 hours per week. She has prepared and delivered more 40 plated meals and 150 cookies to barracks soldiers and new parents in the community. Bailey helped the 902nd ECC SFRG decorate to welcome home soldiers coming back from Operation Allies Welcome and headed up a grassroots donation effort from her family and friends to purchase supplies for the refugees. She has done this all while solo-parenting our toddler a good portion of the year, working 2 jobs, and pursuing her Master's degree. She is incredibly passionate about utilizing her professional Human Resources skills to prepare transitioning soldiers for civilian employment, impacting nearly 1,500 transitioning service members in just 1 year. Bailey truly embodies the Army value of selfless service in both her professional career and personal life.
- by Andrew Cummins