Nominations are closed. Come back February 3 to meet the candidates!

Daniella Horne

Branch: Navy

Duty Station: Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Number of Deployments: 2

Number of PCS's: 2

Share your military spouse story:
Before I became a Military spouse, I was a service member. I met my husband while on active duty serving with the Army while I was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Even though I was Army I was working at the Navy Base as a Food Inspector (68R). Our story was not the lovey dovey type, we met and dated but we knew that our future together was uncertain since he was already waiting on orders to PCS. While dating we found out we were pregnant and I had to then make a really tough decision. The Army would allow me to leave active duty due to my pregnancy or I could stay in Japan raising a child on my own. I was given 7 days to make my decision. Those 7 days we spent day and night going about every detail of our lives. Details that set our minds at ease knowing that we loved and cared enough about each other to see what the future had planned for us. 7 days later after serving 5 years in the Army I was honorably discharged due to our baby. We decided to fly to Washington State and have an intimate courthouse wedding with friends along our side. We headed back to Japan and I started my journey as a Military spouse. It all happened so quickly, one day I was in uniform and the next day I wasn't. The memories of my time in service, the wonderful friendships made and the experiences I had are a huge part of who I am today. I knew that being off the service would truly never stop my willingness to keep serving in some way and would fuel my drive to volunteer and give back to the Military community. That is how I became a spouse and to be honest I feel like my calling was being part of the community on the spouse side all along. I personally believe in fate and what is meant for each individual and for me; this was it. For me, it was marrying someone that would show me and give me everything I had ever wanted in life such as love, a family, honesty, respect, trust, peace and most of all the life path in which I could give back to others and be the best version of myself.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Being a previous service member has sure shaped my leadership skills to become a better spouse, friend and community volunteer. Knowing that I am capable of communicating, helping others and be ready to take on the trials the Military life sends our way has made a huge impact in my life. From being able to create events for our community to taking care of a household on my own and raising kids while my better half is away on mission has defined who I am. We are so much stronger and capable than we think we are. I volunteer for many events and making them happen for our community is what drives me. I love being there for our fellow military families with advice, support, help in many areas and being a source of all information to make their lives better; it's not “The grass is always greener on the other side” but that the “grass is greener when you water it”, With all the ups and downs of the lifestyle we have, in the end it’s up to us to water our own grass and I'm here to help.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I first started my involvement in the military community by volunteering with BlueStar Families, I started dedicating my time setting up events in our community with BSF to welcome families to the island and share resources and then I offered my time to help them with their social media and sharing information to the Military community in Hawaii. I also am part of the Stroller Warriors running group in which I am part of the outreach team and help Military families with Meal trains, information on local running related activities and provide assistance due to medical issues, deployments or hardships. I also created Momma Tribe which is a local group that empowers mothers on Oahu to step out of their comfort zones and meet other moms outside their social groups. I strive to make it a safe place to raise kids, share experiences, educate ourselves on the local community , volunteer by giving back to Oahu and make long lasting friendships.

Describe how you support your community:
I am all about community building and bridging gaps to help the Military community learn about the local community and vice versa. When we moved to Hawaii I felt very alone as a Military Spouse, I tried making friendships and learning about the lifestyle I was embarking on but there was still so much gap within my transition and what was expected of me as a spouse. I wanted to create a safe space for mothers in the Military community and island to find togetherness and common interests. I created "Momma Tribe" a local Facebook group with over 2k members to show mothers all over Oahu that they are not alone while raising kids. I wanted the local mothers to meet Military mothers and get to learn about their different lifestyles and the one place that brought them all together which was our duty station. I feel that the local community especially in Hawaii at times is apprehensive when it comes to our Military and creating Momma Tribe opened doors to discussion, learning and friendship.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for Community and volunteering. We all want a community that thrives, one that is positive, one that grows with each of its members, one that is fruitful, caring and opens its doors to everyone no matter their background. I advocate for bridging the gap between Military families and the local community we become part of with every PCS, with every transition, with every retirement. I want the world to know that we are more that the ranks our spouses hold, more than our duty station or the social groups we belong to. I want everyone to understand that the Military community is capable of so many amazing things when we all come together and that our backbone and spirit shows much more than what the local community sees on the outside. I advocate for volunteering and showing the world that our community cares about everyone's well-being and is ready to go boots to ground to help when it is needed.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have found that sharing my thoughts on our lifestyle through my personal blog and also sharing my own experiences through social media has helped many learn about our community. I have published articles by the ASYMCA, BlueStar families and the latest Military Spouse Magazine sharing different aspects of our Military life. I use my platform to share our situation, my own personal experiences within my transition from active duty to Veteran spouse, Submarine spouse life and I like to add both education and entertainment to it. I am a very sincere and at times blunt person and sharing about our life truly shows how real and imperfect Military life can be but how it truly helps to mold you into a better human. Every single part of it: deployment, forming a village, trying a new spouse club, duty days, how to be there for your service member, mental health, raising resilient children and sharing that with the world has not only helped me but also others see how much we can overcome.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
To be completely honest even being nominated by a fellow Military spouse is a huge honor on its own. To know that someone thinks highly of me and what I do for the community is more than I could imagine. I am hoping that the title of AFI Military Spouse of the Year opens many doors to the different issues our community faces and the day-to-day stories that make us who we are. I truly hope to learn from others that hold the same title and collaborate with other spouses who are helping bridge the same gaps between the Military Community and our civilian counterparts. I would love to empower Military Spouses to help them believe that they are more valuable to this community than what they think. Our Military would not be the same without the spouses behind the scenes making it all happen and the local communities they are part of.

Nominations

Daniella is a veteran/military spouse who creates a sense of community for military & civilian community. She created the Facebook group "Momma Tribe" for mom's on Oahu to have a positive group to find friends "to empower, support and encourage each other throughout the ups and downs of parenting." Within the group she created weekly playdates to socialize with each other. She also volunteers as the social media manager/community outreach for Blue Star Families, is the volunteer outreach point of contacts for the Pearl Harbor Stroller Warriors group. She also runs her own content creator account through Instagram, is a mom/lifestyle blogger & shares a lot about our military lifestyle & island life. She has such a kind/generous heart & even with the hardships that she has faced as a service member & spouse she pushes through. She is currently dealing with a water contamination in military housing and sharing what that experience has been like with others.
- by Arlene Allen