Duty Station: Fort Knox
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 8
Share your military spouse story:
Over the last 13 and a half years, I supported the military community as an Army spouse, student, mother, business owner, military spouse mentor, volunteer, and veteran. After 8 PCS moves, I become proficient with the move process and starting over at each duty station by turning each move into a positive one for my family. Being a military spouse taught me the importance of family and the need to be a part of an “Army” to support one another in the good times and bad. Being a military spouse means that you wear many different hats in your lifetime; spouse, mother, chef, housekeeper, teacher, and sometimes even the referee. I support my family and the spouses I encounter daily by utilizing these different roles. I spend my days raising my children, running various businesses, volunteering with MSAN, serving as PTO President for two schools on Fort Knox (for the second year), SFRG Leader, cub scouts volunteer, and volunteer coordinator with Ohana Homefront. Every year my family goes out to help the scouts lay flags and wreaths on gravestones of those fallen heroes, and we enjoy hearing the stories of the survivors. No matter where we moved, I brought my businesses with me; BHodges Photography and Designs by LillyPad. Taking the time to capture family photos along with all the military activities I took part in over the years provided me with lifelong memories. In 2010 I was featured in the Dubuque, Iowa newspaper for taking old military uniforms and turning them into fantastic keepsake bags for all services members and their families. Over the past few years, since the pandemic, I used my sewing skills to help provide the families on post with masks by making and donating over 2,000 face masks. Over the last 13 1/2 years, we endured one deployment, 8 PCS moves, and way too many TDY trips to count. We are currently calling Fort Knox, Kentucky home but have that next PCS to our terminal assignment within reach and are looking forward to our forever home.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Within the past 13 and a half years, I held leadership positions within the military and our local community. I started three Soldier Family Readiness Group programs for units that did not have them and currently hold the Leader position in my husband’s current unit. Over the years, I volunteered with my children’s schools and held a few different positions on their PTO boards. I am currently the PTO President of two out of the four schools on Fort Knox. I made myself available to the new spouses coming in by helping them with any information they may need or want. I am continuing that by mentoring new spouses with MSAN. I want to ensure these spouses have the best experience with every duty station and know they have someone there they can turn to if they need a helping hand or even just someone to lend a listening ear.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I always felt a need to get involved with things not only inside the gates but also outside the gates. At each duty station, I become involved in different activities such as becoming a girl scout troop leader, a cub scout volunteer, a fill-in soccer coach, a PTO board member/volunteer, MSAN mentor, RWB member, SFRG leader, volunteer coordinator, and a business owner. I participate in social activities on post such as a secret sister’s group, coffee meet-ups, and of course, lots of playdates! I also coordinate activities through the PTO and the SFRG, such as family days, holiday parties, bowling nights, field days, back to school festivities, fall festivals, and of course the fundraisers. Bringing others together is always my end goal, as I hope to see everyone work together to make life that much better.
Describe how you support your community:
I try to be a part of the “Army village” to help other spouses, no matter what they need. It could be a babysitter, seamstress, cook, a friend, or just someone to listen to them. I know the challenges that military life holds, and I understand the need for this extended family. It takes a village to support one another and make sure that all make it through. No one wants to be left to fend for themselves, and I am there to make sure that does not happen. 2020 was a year that changed our entire society and affected our military families significantly. As everyday life was shut down, our service members and their families were impacted. I set out to do my part by having set out to help those around me. I made and donated over 2,000 masks to all the Soldiers and families stationed on Fort Knox. I made sure they had what was needed to go out to the store or take their children to the doctors. That’s just the start of what I do, and I hope to help any family I can.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for the families; I want to be the one who is there for them in the good times and bad. I can do just that by participating within the SFRG, MSAN, and Ohana Homefront. MSAN is a mentorship organization to help all military spouses navigate through their military journey. Ohana Homefront foundation is helping to bring suicide awareness to all. Suicide in our military community is an issue, especially for families, so the organization supports those in need. It is essential to show the families that you are there for them whether they need help understanding a specific regulation or struggling with their mental health. I enjoy being a part of both and allowed to lead them into this military life and see to it that they take care of themselves.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
For the past 13 and a half years, I made it a point to help others. I started assisting the spouses with the first SFRG program I helped create about 12 years ago. Once I got started, I found that I enjoyed doing something and seemed great, so I continued. I always make it a point to involve myself with the new spouses as the military lifestyle can be highly intimidating. I want to be the helping hand to make the change more manageable and help these spouses figure their way through it all. I held many get-togethers with spouses that I have met and let them ask questions or talk about what they were going through in life. It could be about the struggles they were/are going through, or maybe it was about something they found that was working wonders for them. By being involved in MSAN and Ohana Homefront, I can help even more as it gives me the ability to talk to people stationed worldwide.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
With the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title, I will continue to work with the Ohana Homefront Foundation, helping it blossom into a fantastic organization. They put their faith in me, and now it is up to me to ensure that I do all I can to help those suffering from mental health. Now, more than ever, mental health is critical, given the past two years and the pandemic's toll on so many. With the significance of being the military spouse of the year, I will be a pillar that people can rely on for support, and I will be the voice of support for soldiers and their families, providing them the help they need. I will make sure that whatever organizations I am a part of prospers and grow, empowering them to offer Soldiers and Families the support they need. That is what I aspire to accomplish, should I be chosen as the spouse of the year.
She does so much to help in all aspects! From her husband, to her children she is always willing to step up and help out!
- by Michael Rodgers
Rebecca continuously puts others welfare and happiness above her own. She has spent thousands of hours doing PTO president and FRG leader over the course of the last few years. She always has others in her mind when starting projects. Rebecca is an inspiration to others as well as a mentor for military spouses.
- by Sarah Laraine Sanford
Rebecca volunteers countless hours to several organizations which support the soldiers and families. She spends hours working as leader of the SFRG, is PTO President of two schools, she is a scout leader, she is a mentor for new Army Spouses, and works as the volunteer coordinator Ohana Homefront Foundation. Her life is doing everything she can to support not only her family, but every family on Fort Knox that she can. If Rebecca sees a need, she will do whatever she can to take care of it.
- by Kathy Rogers
Rebecca Hodges always seems to make sure that she is there for everyone. No matter if it is volunteering with the school PTO's, the SFRG, the spouses club's, cub scouts, or even a few different non-profits, she is always there willing to help in any way that she can. Rebecca has inspired me to be more than just a spouse, she has shown me that the more you engage and participate in what is around you the better your time is and you are truly a happier person. Rebecca is who I wish to be as I spend many more years in this life.
- by Mandy Davis