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

Lexie Coppinger

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Fort Benning

Number of Deployments: 4

Number of PCS's: 4

Share your military spouse story:
Lexie Coppinger is currently the Program Director for the Veteran Pen Pal Project under the nonprofit It’s A Military Life and an Army Family Team Building and Spouse Leadership Seminar instructor for Fort Benning. Lexie was born and raised as a military child and lived all over the world with her family. Moving created an opportunity for Lexie to be exposed to different cultures, develop a love of all international foods, and embrace the concept that people are more similar than different. Now, as a military spouse for over 12 years, Lexie still thoroughly enjoys traveling and going on new adventures with her husband, and has taught her own “military” children to savor the adventures! She is an energetic relationship builder, enthusiastic serial volunteer & event coordinator, & passionate about veteran, spouse, & military family advocacy. Unfortunately, in 2015, Lexie lost her 21yr old brother suddenly to a head-on collision. Kris Lewis was her only sibling & this loss furthered her passion for assisting in Casualty Assistance (CARE) teams in all capacities. Then, in 2019, her brother-in-law, Spc. Joey Coppinger, took his life shortly after returning home from Afghanistan. This deepened her need to care for her military community even more & lit a fire to advocate for veteran & military programs that could help veterans and their families mentally and emotionally as they wade through the military lifestyle and the impact it has on us all as a community. Lexie’s favorite position she’s ever held was as a Soldier & Family Readiness Support Assistant (SFRSA) for a consistently deployed unit. She enjoys volunteering in local community efforts, for the USO, Operation Homefront, Blue Star Families, United Through Reading, & It’s A Military Life.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Lexie is currently a volunteer Program Director for the Veteran Pen Pal Project under the nonprofit It’s A Military Life. She helps connect veteran communities such as veteran centers, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and VA hospitals with pen pals all around the world. Veteran participants possess a wide variety of military experiences - they come from all service branches, job specialities, and time periods and the Veteran Pen Pal Project provides a means to build relationships and be a friendly outreach for veterans struggling mentally and emotionally, or those who simply need a friend. Additionally, Lexie instructs on a volunteer basis in Fort Benning’s Spouse Leadership Seminar. This is a program that provides a platform for the military spouse to shine by informing and empowering military spouses through education, peer networking, self-discovery, and leadership development.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
Lexie is heavily involved in the military community. She helps build It’s A Military Life’s mission by sharing and advocating through social media, virtual, and in-person events nationwide. She serves as a POC for Operation Homefront’s involvement in multiple installation-wide events on Fort Benning. She’s an Army Community Services (ACS) and USO volunteer, Blue Stars Family volunteer, and consistently seeks ways to support fellow military families in any way possible. Additionally, she’s served as a Family Readiness Support Assistant, helping hundreds of soldiers and families navigate deployments, COVID, and everyday military life matters.

Describe how you support your community:
Lexie’s coordinated holiday meals for families and single parent soldiers who could simply need a little extra love, provided resources endlessly to those in the military community whenever possible, and genuinely, sincerely loves the community she’s honored to be a part of. She is consistently building her community up and mentoring any spouse that could use a little guidance. If there’s a need for a volunteer, you can count on Lexie being one of the first to step up to the plate. She’s known throughout the installation for her love and dedication towards strengthening her community and advocating for military family needs and programs, as well as her willingness to help anyone in need. She has a heavy positive influence on the programs and community efforts shes participated in, and continues to only want to build more positivity.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for a variety of means to include the Veteran Pen Pal Project’s mission to connect both civilians & the military community through a simple act of kindness via a letter. I strongly believe in the need for programs that genuinely help veterans, spouses, and military families on a mental and emotional level. The military lifestyle can bring some heavy baggage and often, it’s difficult to navigate through it all. It helps to have someone next to you that says, “I too, have struggled through that…” The way to do that is to consistently simply help one another however that may be. Sometimes that help looks like a meal, a letter, a phone call, or an event to provide resources to the military community. I firmly believe that our duty here on Earth is to just help one another, and I live that belief through my everyday community service and advocacy.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Fortunately, I’ve been honored to be able to spread my message through being a guest on a handful of podcasts, over social media, and through virtual and in-person events. I’ve been interviewed in a number of published articles and constantly spread my mission through my personal network and military spouse mentoring opportunities.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
I hope to accomplish the idea that as a military community, we’re so much more alike than different. Because of the challenges we’ve faced within the military community - traumatic and heavy experiences, constantly uprooting ourselves and our families, adapting in the face of change and adversity, and so much more - that gives us, as a community, a need to rely on each other. We have to hold each other up when we’re mentally incapable of standing and lean on one another when we’re emotionally lost. Through platforms like the Veteran Pen Pal Project and It’s A Military Life, as well as community efforts with a need for a sturdy, passionate volunteer, I aim to build stronger bridges and pathways to veterans, spouses, and military families that were otherwise unknown. I aim to build a stronger sense of community as one big family, and provide an outlet to connect one another and build a means where no one feels alone within the military lifestyle.

Nominations

I’ve never met someone so genuinely dedicated to serving the military community. I’m in awe with her dedication, especially as Program Director for our most popular program for It’s a Military Life — Veteran Pen Pal Project. I noticed Lexie before she joined our team, and actively followed her amazing journey as an advocate for our military community. She honestly serves with her whole heart, and it is evident in everything she does. I’m honored she is a part of our nonprofit organization, and can continue supporting our veteran community with grace and innovation. Our program had very big shoes to fill, when are former program director stepped into a new role. When she stepped into the new position, Lexie made us all confident that our veterans would be taken care of and beyond. Our program focuses on sending letters to our heroes, and Lexie gets our mission. She understands our veterans and their needs. We are so blessed to have her in our lives, and would be proud to nominate Lexie.
- by Christina Etchberger