Branch: Coast Guard
Duty Station: Coast Guard District 5
Number of Deployments: 0
Number of PCS's: 6
Share your military spouse story:
I met my husband when he got stationed where I'm from in the Bayou Region of Louisiana in 2003. He told me then that "He never wanted to be married or have kids". We went our separate ways and in 2008 we reconnected and decided to just get married. In true military style we married at the courthouse in Portsmouth, VA while on my lunch break. A few months later we found out we were expecting in 8 months (exact time we were transferring). We found out it was Cleveland, Ohio for us. I moved ahead of my husband to settle in and unexpectedly had our baby girl 8 weeks early. He had a new station to report to and I had a 3 year old and premature baby to take care of. It was time for me to dig down deep and find that military spouse strength I heard about. Staying at home with my girls was such a blessing but I knew I wanted to better myself. I enrolled in college and earned 3 Associate degrees Business, Human Resources and Marketing while caring for my girls. From Cleveland we traded in our snowsuits for swimsuits and moved to Key West. Key West brought many new experiences but my favorite was working at Sigsbee Charter School. The time there passed quickly and I learned even more about being a strong spouse. Our family headed to Cape May, at that point I was struggling to find my place as a Coast Guard spouse. I knew what kind of spouse I wanted to be. I just didn’t have the confidence. After our time in Cape May we headed to Station Sand Key, Florida. This is where I found myself! This is when I had the confidence to do good things. I was employed at an elementary school as a Family and Community liaison. My giving heart flourished there. I had never been so sad to leave somewhere. Bags packed and back to Cape May. Arriving here I got a job with a veteran owned company and I get to brief recruits on the company while they wait at the USO before boarding the bus for boot camp. My girls are older now so I have time and energy to spend on making the world a better place.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
An example of my leadership in the Coast Guard community is volunteering to lead Guardian Spouses while also filling in as interim Vice president of the spouses club. At the time I asked to take it over Covid restrictions were lifting and volunteers were hard to come by. At Guardian Spouse meetings I along with a Tri-Care rep and a Work Life rep help to educate and crash course fiances and/or new spouses on Coast Guard spouse life. After I started really getting the hang of it I asked the Coast Guard Family Assistance Fund group if I could be included on the company facebook pages to assist new spouses along the way. I have enjoyed leading Guardian Spouses and am hoping I can recruit more spouses to join me and breathe new life into this program.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I have helped to form partnerships between members and children as a mentor relationship in Florida. I volunteered to chair Scholarships for local Coast Guard kids in Cape May. I chaired Stockings for Recruits. Lead Guardian Spouses through presentations on Fridays and answering questions submitted through the website. Placed medals on Veterans' graves and participated in Wreaths Across America. I also joined the Giving Tuesday Military movement and did random acts of kindness on base.
Describe how you support your community:
I started a partnership with Station Sand Key to come and mentor youth. During this time the shutdown happened. I helped to arrange through the school district employees donations and a delivery to the members of Station Sand Key. Cape May provided the opportunity to chair Stockings for Recruits. When reaching out to the local establishments for donations I was told that the MAC was short on volunteers. I wanted to continue the tradition of the Coast Guard tree so I signed up to help. People were interested in hearing about the program and the Coast Guard. The day to day involvement in Guardian Spouses I field questions from new spouses via the company page or Guardian Spouses website. Most Sundays I can be found filming off base runs for the parents to view. I joined the Giving Military Tuesday group to do acts of kindness in the community. I got involved with a group that places medals on Veterans’ graves in Arlington.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for education of spouses. There are are many spouses who are unaware of all the resources out there to help them. Through Guardian Spouses I am able to help give them a basis on Work Life resources and Tri-Care. Educating spouses about these subject matters can help to eliminate problems for the spouse down the road. I really try to advocate for knowledge on Mental Health services available to them. No spouse should ever be left feeling alone or that they can't reach out for mental support.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have spread the word through social media and talking with the command at Tracen Cape May. I also had the privilege of speaking with members of FORCECOM. They were present for my presentation and gave feedback. One of the Captains talked about the program on his podcast! Facebook has been wonderful for working with the administrators of the company pages to allow me to post information that new or soon to be spouses may need.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I hope to bring awareness of the many resources out there. I want to help empower spouses to be their own advocate for all the things military life can bring. This includes education, mental health, physical well being and general everyday life. Everyone can be a great self advocate with the right tools.
It is with great pleasure I nominate Misty Veverka for Military Spouse of the year. I have never met a spouse more willing to do for others as she is. She goes above and beyond to help out others and provide support to fellow spouses. From her work with Guardian Spouses, to Giving Tuesday, to simply helping a friend when in need there isn’t anything Misty would not do for others. Most notably she takes it upon herself to provide support and information to new spouses, significant others and families before and during bootcamp and after graduation to both new or seasoned spouses. She truly has a heart of gold and I have no doubt she would use this recognition to continue to give encouragement, help support and inspire everyone she comes in contact with.
- by Jennifer Smith