Duty Station: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
Number of Deployments: 3
Number of PCS's: 0
Share your military spouse story:
My husband, SFC Joseph Andreacchio and I have been married since June 2015. The day I met Joe; June 6, 2010 was the best day ever. He left a week later for several weeks of training in South Carolina. We built our initial relationship through text and e-mail. This would later serve us well on a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013-2014 and a CONUS mobilization in 2020. I did not expect to marry into the military. In fact, my type A - need to plan personality, many predicted, a military marriage is not something I would have agreed to! However, Joe makes it worth it. And his service has opened a beautiful door that has allowed for me to build amazing relationships with fellow military spouses (some of which I've never met in person). Through these relationships I've been blessed to fill my cup outside of my 60 hour a work full time job with volunteering opportunities and initiatives. It is these initiatives that make me so proud to say – I am a military spouse. A tremendous example of the strength of the military spouse community is that Joe and I had an uphill climb in our fertility journey, made even more difficult with the amount of time he is away from home for trainings and deployments. I never felt alone. I have friends from all walks of life, but my military spouse friends, they know how to show up for you. This life teaches us what it means to be have PRESENCE even when you cannot be PRESENT. And I am so proud and so fortunate to be a part of this community.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
My husband is in the US Army Reserve and works full time on the DoD civilian side. As an Army Reserve family at times the families of the unit are dispersed 100s of miles apart from one another. I decided early to become a volunteer in the SFRG (then FRG) to ensure that the physical distance did not hinder the ability to create relationships. I started as a key caller in Joe's Afghanistan deployment, taking a very strong liking to keeping in touch with the parents of younger soldiers whose soldier may call their significant other or friends before Mom and Dad. Presently, I am the leader of the 1-309TH TSBN SFRG and was proud to light the way for our families during a 1-year mobilization during COVID when the world changed before our eyes. Our soldiers returned to a world that they did not recognize and family dynamics that were stressed to the max with care taking for aging parents and homeschooling during a pandemic. I am incredibly proud of what we did through that mobilization.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
As an active ARMY Family Programs Volunteer, I am proud to be able to support my husband through volunteering with the SFRG. In addition to my volunteer efforts with the SFRG for planning family engagement, supporting family readiness and managing communication during times of separation, I am also a volunteer in a support role of many tremendous organizations like Blue Star Families, Operation Homefront, Operation Gratitude and the USO. Most recently in 2021 I became a crew member for Brittany Boccher's Discovering Your Spark program and have facilitated monthly workshops with the spouses of JBMDL. This year, we are hosting in-person every month partnering with Liberty USO to host the events at the JBMDL terminal. I am also the Marketing Director the military spouse founded and led non-profit, Operation Deploy Your Dress. In 2021, we launched an all-virtual bridal program that has paired 35 military connected brides with brand new wedding gowns.
Describe how you support your community:
As a US Army Reserve family, we are very much connected to our civilian community. I am also a fulltime working mother, who logs close to 60 hours a week working for a global pharmaceutical company. This has allowed for me to bring social impact initiatives that support our military community to the attention of the private sector and realized a lot of tremendous support from the organizations. Additionally, in our local community of Ewing Township, NJ I have led the effort to create a Buy Nothing - Ewing NJ community marketplace for the exchange of free items that span from household goods, clothing to baby items and perishable and non-perishable food items. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The feedback is tremendous, and the impact is invaluable. This group has changed me, it has changed the way I think about the world and it has increased my motivation to continue to give of my time, talent, and resources to the community - military and civilian.
What do you advocate for? Why?
For me it is more about the who I advocate for and that leads me to my why. I advocate for the new to the military parent whose child is on their first AT, TDY or mobilization and they thought saying goodbye to boot camp was going to be the hardest part. I advocate for the reserve spouse who never got their military ID because the closest installation to obtain one is 230 miles away and they are a one-car family. I advocate for those of us with volunteer hearts and a desire to give back and not sure where or how to start or where to help. I advocate for providing access to the information, to the resources, to the opportunities and then working to build the bridge to between our military and civilian communities so that while our lifestyles may be different our struggles, obstacles and needs are very similar.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Through the social platforms that I administer in and around JBMBL we were able to collect and deliver over 10,000 items of need to our allies upon arrival at JBMDL. From women's health products, personal hygiene and clothing and shoes donated from individual contributors and from large organizations where I have personal and professional connections, we made an impact. We took this message beyond those first several weeks of support and are now pairing volunteers who wish to work with the youth and perform translation or mentoring opportunities with the right folks at the Task Force to continue to support the mission. I am proud of the community response and believe that it was the early messaging in these community platforms that helped build a tremendous response. I hope to do more of these activities and was able to do so with my platform for Giving Tuesday Military and donating over 200 pairs of pajamas to foster children and homeless adults later in 2021.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
Now that I have been able to see the power behind facilitating a platform for a community to come together in support of a mission - for our Afghan allies but also for the local Mom who needs formula because she's running short that week - I want to accomplish more social outreach with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title I believe my sphere of influence would increase. I have the blueprint of how you can be successful as a Reserve Spouse in building virtual support networks and eliminating the lack of presence when you are not physically present. Through this platform I would share my list of to-do's and the lessons learned of what to avoid. I want to see what we've been successful with in my little slice of the world expanded out to others and to understand that we are all in this thing together - teamwork, no matter what your badge, ID, or email domain says = dreamwork!
Corrie is amazing! She is full time working mom who makes volunteering a priority. She is involved and invested in what she dedicates her time to and sets such a positive example to everyone around her. She is constantly teaching me things and is the most humble person I know. She has been there for me during deployments and short tours and Ive worked side by side with her during our volunteer efforts. I am fortunate to call her a dear friend.
- by Rebekah Thomashunis