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

Marisol Jimenez

Branch: Marine Corps

Duty Station: Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island

Number of Deployments: 3

Number of PCS's: 2

Share your military spouse story:
I was blessed to have met my husband at the age of 14. We followed our hearts through middle and high school, then onto the real world. When he wondered "What's next?" I never thought that the Marine Corps would be his story and I would be reading his book. I knew my only part was to support him in any decision he made. That is when my military spouse story began. Somehow, I lost my self in-between working, moving, babies, and deployments. I began to put myself last to strive for the perfect family among all the chaos the military brings. I sat stagnate at our first duty station for close to 7 years living off base. I tried to stay away from the stigma that military spouses have been given if they "involve" themselves too much. I wasted such a new and positive time in our lives by hiding under that new spouse rock. I could have done so much more for myself while still being supportive in the process. In July of 2020, we PCS'd to Parris Island for the Drill Field. I was told it is one of the most rewarding but difficult duty stations. Your spouse's duties are based on long hours, early mornings, and late nights in order to lead and teach by example; while all along using his voice in order to be stern, heard, and understood. That in itself is a physical and mental challenge for us. I've heard repeatedly that if I didn't get involved or make friends, I wouldn't survive this duty station. So, I deep dived into MCRD Parris Island as I decided not only was my husband going to continue to thrive, so was our entire family. I took the time to find new activities that I loved on base while continuing the ones I had already enjoyed. I was able to let him focus on becoming the better version of himself and I was able to become a better wife and mother in the process by becoming involved. Here we are almost nine years into his Marine Corps Career, we were able to start completely anew and build from the ground up.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I was sought out to become the Family Readiness Assistant for Charlie Company. This gives me an opportunity to make a positive difference. In managing the company’s Family Facebook group as an Admin, I welcome our new spouses as they arrive, and answer questions about the DI life. I keep the group current with information of events on and off base. Along with the companies second FRA we organize potlucks for the families and the DIs at the start, middle and near the end of cycles. We also plan quick and easy breakfasts for the company to enjoy. We plan spouse meetups to build friendships and community within each other. We also organize morning walks, playdates, and craft nights for the kids. I keep in contact with the company 1st SGT so that we can work together on making sure events can be scheduled and supported. Charlie company has some really great wives, who started off as strangers that I now call friends.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
The last year and a half on MCRD Parris Island I have been able to find myself again. I am a member of the Parris Island Spouses' Club which has provided me new opportunities and friendships. With them I have also found my passion in the Private Peppers program. This program provides new Marines with snacks and phones to call home to their families, if their families are unable to attend Family Day. I am the Family Readiness Assistant (FRA) for Charlie Company. I also attend the 1st battalion FRA meetings to help plan future battalion events. I have joined the Spouses Beaufort Area Kickball Association which all the teams consist of spouses from either the Beaufort Air Station or MCRD Parris Island, a little friendly competition never hurt. My longest involvement in the military community has been with Stroller Warriors Running Club- Camp Lejeune since 2013. Stroller Warriors has continued to provide me motivation to train for the Marine Corps Marathon one day.

Describe how you support your community:
As a family we show our support by attending events as much as possible. Especially when events are child focused, we are always excited to participate. This keeps them busy and gives new exposure to what the base/town offers and making new friends. We attend adult focused events when we can. Supporting an event by word of mouth comes with benefits, you are able to answer questions on the spot or refer them to someone who can. It can also open the doors for a bigger conversation about interests, other events, and make a deeper connection with spouses. Social Media and E-mail has also become a valuable option because I can "Share" a post to the groups I admin, as a member, and on my own personal page with close friends. I can let anyone know a quick experience and make sure website links that I share are accurate and will take them to the event information. There is more than one way to show support besides attending, making awareness is most important to those who cannot attend.

What do you advocate for? Why?
My advocacy is to encourage spouses to build connections and grow their involvement in the military community on and off base. I believe that many spouses need to be aware of what is available to help improve themselves and become involved. As I have explained throughout my military story how getting involved made me a better person and my confidence level has increased. I hope this could happen to others.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I spread spouse involvement and connection by talking about the clubs and organizations that I involve myself in. I enjoy letting others know that I participate because it gives me something to be proud of. I utilize my personal FB page to help spread the news of current events on and off base. As an Admin and a member of different FB groups it gives me a broader audience to spread my advocacy. As much as possible, I encourage other spouses to come with me when they can for new experiences. I also encourage spouses to check out the Parris Island MCCS website for more resources. This February, I will speak on behalf of the Parris Island Spouses Club and Private Peppers about their friendship, community service, and philanthropy, during “Discovery night”, where new spouses and family gather to learn about the resources on base.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
I hope that at least one spouse reads my story and feels inspired enough to volunteer or take part in their own military community. I hope that with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title I can also help spouses feel confident, encouraged, and empowered.

Nominations

Marisol giving heart to the Parris Island Recruit Depot community is why I am nominating her for the Parris Island Military Spouse of the Year. Marisol is a leader in the community and she gives her time to many organization and entities aboard Parris Island. You will find Marisol helping out at her Marine's Battalion supporting them in family readiness program, she is part of the bases kickball team and she even finds the time to support the Parris Island Spouses' Club. No matter how busy she is you will always find her helping a fellow peer to feel included. She is a gem and is one of those spouse who you will always see smiling and offering to help instead of thinking about herself. Many of us in the Parris Island community will say they recognize Marisol as a go getter, supporter, community builder, leader and volunteer. Marisol would never ask for recognition but she is worthy of being recognized.
- by Carter Leigh