Branch: Marine Corps
Duty Station: Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
Number of Deployments: 7
Number of PCS's: 13
Share your military spouse story:
My Marine and I first met in college, but life led us in different directions. I married, became a mom, and was widowed all in the span of about 15 months. My Marine watched from a distance and after a few years, wrote me an old-fashioned letter. That started a long-distance romance that brought me into the Marine Corps Spouse community. We have had many long-distance eras of our relationship with 13 PCSs and 7 Deployments. Throughout that time, our three children and I thrived when we were connected and had a rougher time when that was slower to happen. As a Spanish teacher, I found it difficult at times to teach in a conventional setting because of the moving, but I found ways to continue to use my Spanish and to teach, ultimately homeschooling our children for a lot of years. As a homeschool family, the need to be deliberate about building relationships and serving was paramount. That intentionality has served us well as our three children are now all launched and have found their niches as adults all over the country. And my Marine and I are learning for the first time, what it’s like to be a couple without kids in the house.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Shortly after arriving at the Recruit Depot Parris Island, I stepped into leadership of a program called Private Peppers that provides a warm welcome to the new Marines graduating that don’t have family present at Family Day for Graduation. Private Peppers is under the direction of the Parris Island Spouses’ Club and I became the chair of the program shortly after becoming involved. I coordinate volunteers, control inventory, and promote the program with community supporters. I have been doing this for four years now and it has been one of the most heartwarming experiences of my military spouse tenure.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
Whenever I have been able to, I have joined the base or unit Spouses’ Club. These clubs have been key to networking and supporting one another through the joys and tears that come with being part of the military community. I have served on the executive board at Parris Island as Parliamentarian. When overseas I have volunteered on the base and connected with the international spouses as well.
Describe how you support your community:
I have volunteered and served in every duty station (all 13 of them) we have been. Some of the highlights have been running a Vacation Bible School for seasonal workers, teaching Spanish at a homeschool co-op, volunteering at the Spouses’ Club Gift Shop in Okinawa, and tutoring English as a Foreign Language with the international spouses during one of my husband’s schools.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I am passionate about the need to connect physically and network locally. In our day and age, it is so easy to get sucked into our phones and stay connected with those in other locations. That is good and helpful, but when we don’t get out and meet face to face and serve one another, we are lacking and our communities are the lesser for it.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I contributed to a military lifestyle support blog for a while, but it is now defunct.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I would love to encourage and support spouses in their efforts to start over again with new friends and new schools, new jobs, and even new hairstylists. I want them to know that it is worth the work to re-engage over and over. We become stronger for it. We can serve with more compassion. We can work with more wisdom. Our world is better for our experiences.
Pam goes above and beyond for the Marines and spouses she is around. She runs the Private Peppers Program aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island for new Marines that don’t have family attending graduation or family day. Private Peppers allows these new Marines to use cell phones to call home and gives them hugs and goodies. She is a key member of the Parris Island Spouses club. She is involved in any and everything that she feels she can contribute to. Pam has touched the lives of thousands upon thousands of new Marines and their families and does it with a spirit of service and genuine care that is unmatched. She is entirely deserving of this recognition.
- by Dina Becker