Duty Station: Fort Benning
Number of Deployments: 3
Number of PCS's: 3
Share your military spouse story:
I'm an Army spouse of close to seven years, a Certified Health Education Specialist, certified group exercise instructor, and dedicated healthcare professional working COVID-19 mitigation efforts at my local health department. Military life has shown me I am so much more resilient and strong than I had realized. I fell in love with my soldier during senior year of college; I didn't plan on being a military spouse for very long, my spouse had been planning on ETSing (leaving the military) soon after our marriage, but other plans prevailed, and now we wouldn't have it any other way! I have always had a passion for health and wellness, this lead me to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Wellness Management, and become a Certified Health Education Specialist. After our first PCS and in the middle of my spouse's second deployment, my desire to continue my education grew enough that I enrolled in a Master's program in Fitness and Wellness Leadership. These seven years of military life have been exciting; we have gone through 3 deployments, four duty stations and countless adventures, as military life has brought us to places we never expected.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I was honored recently with being selected into the first cohort of Military Spouse Advocacy Network's (MSAN) Military Spouse Leadership Development Program. This program has enabled me to know that my voice matters in the military spouse community, how to be a better advocate for causes I believe in, and how to take my health and wellness knowledge to help make a difference in the lives of other military spouses.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
In almost seven years of being a spouse I have had seasons of disconnection from the military community, as well as seasons of heightened connectivity. It has been in these seasons of increased connectivity that I have felt most at peace with being a military spouse. I began to feel more connected to the military community during my time working for Army MWR. This experience left me with a greater understanding of the military experience on a macro-level, not just my singular (micro) experiences as a military spouse, but helped me to better understand the experiences of others as well. In late 2020 I began volunteering with InDependent, a non-profit with a mission to let military spouses know that their wellness matters.
Describe how you support your community:
Through my time volunteering with InDependent, I have been able to combine my passion for health and wellness with my desire to support and encourage other military spouses. I am the Wellness Lounge Coordinator, in this position I have the pleasure of interacting with military spouses all over the world in InDependent's Facebook group, called the Wellness Lounge. Each month I create guided workbooks on topics ranging from mental health, nutrition, marriage and children, community building, fitness, and so much more. These workbooks are sent to members of the Wellness Lounge to help them grow and develop their wellness practice.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I am an advocate for military spouse wellness. I have seen countless times the sacrifices that military spouses make not only for their own service member and their families, but for strangers as well. I feel that it is important to remind military spouses that they are important too and that their wellness matters! As the adage goes, "You can't pour from an empty cup." I am fortunate enough to say that giving back to these spouses has also helped me to fill my own cup.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
While my personal platform is not large, I use the Wellness Lounge platform to discuss various wellness topics with military spouses from across the globe and to support, encourage, and inspire military spouse to take an interest in their wellness and work toward cultivating a sustainable wellness practice that fits into their lifestyle and their preferences. Through InDependent's Wellness Lounge, I am able to communicate the importance of military spouse wellness to approximately 170 spouses each month! In addition to this, I help support the annual InDependent Wellness Summit, a week-long summit that supports and encourages military spouse wellness.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
If selected, I would like to continue advocating for military spouse wellness and bringing awareness to subjects that matter most to military spouses. I believe that wellness is multidimensional, and that each military spouse has different wellness needs that need to be met in order to flourish and thrive in a busy, chaotic military lifestyle. If a military spouse is thriving, the family is thriving. Spouses are the heartbeat of the home and keep the pulse of the household. I believe that if I can continue to help military spouses flourish in their wellness, that will have a ripple effect on the family as a whole.
Kalie has been volunteering with me at InDependent for a little over a year and since that time she's put in so much time and effort to inspire and educate military spouses on ways to prioritize their wellness. When presented with an opportunity to support her team, she always says 'yes' and has positive words of encouragement to share. One of the best parts about volunteering with Kalie is that I know that she will never let a team member down. She works hard, and believes in making a difference. It's an honor to work along side her.
- by Evie King