Duty Station: Fort Leavenworth
Number of Deployments: 3
Number of PCS's: 11
Share your military spouse story:
I met my spouse at a Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, DC when we were juniors in high school. He was from Dallas, TX and I from Decatur, IL. We kept in touch and began dating after he unexpectedly ended up in Chicago when we were seniors in college. I got to experience all things West Point while dating a cadet. As 9/11 happened when we were freshmen the war had already begun. Upon graduation he was stationed at Fort Hood and deployed for 15 months. I went to Boston to complete my master degree while being very involved in the unit from afar. I flew back and forth for many many funerals and visitations. It was our hardest deployment. When he came back we moved to Fort Knox, where the career course used to be and from there ended up in Baumholder, Germany. Baumholder proved to be a tough place with lots of loss as well. I was FRG leader and ran programs for families on post. I played and I sang at more funerals/visitations then I ever thought I would in my 20s. It was the one thing I knew I could give these families. I even helped watch children as I didn't have any yet as others were staying down at the hospital to be with their injured soldiers. I ran theaters on post and lots of spouses events. We had some wonderful spouses! We then came back to the states and ended up in Texas for graduate school. It was a nice break and we had our first son there. We then headed to West Point and it was so fun to go back after so many years! We had our second son at West Point. I was event coordinator for the spouses club and we restarted the ghost tours that are still going on today! We then moved to Fort Leavenworth, Fort Bliss, and back to Fort Leavenworth. At Bliss I was very involved in the support of the families, especially during our deployment. I am currently working with pregnant and postpartum spouses, soldiers, and former soldiers who are in need of rehabilitation with their bodies and voice after having children.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I think as a senior spouse in the military it is my job to welcome and help younger spouses. I am so thankful that my path has been blessed with these types of spouses. When we were in Germany the battalion commanders wife was so kind and open. She taught us how to be a leader in the army and still be compassionate. I have been a leader through the FRG and jobs within the army. I have helped families and shown my support by bringing them meals when they have babies, or singing and playing the piano for visitations and funerals. Sometimes just calling to make sure they are doing ok. As I mentioned above I am finding my passion in helping pregnant and postpartum women. I feel it is so important to make sure they know they have resources and don't have to suffer alone.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I have been very involved with the military for the length of my husbands career. I have always participated in the FRG and helped with anything I have been asked. I have also been a leader in themes and planning for dining ins and balls. I have created programs and resources for the families of these service members and will continue to do so in the future.
Describe how you support your community:
I am always willing to support my community in any way I can. I think it is so important to build a community in such a hard career choice. I build up the community by creating programs that support the spouses and children. I have often created theater opportunities for the families. At Fort Bliss when The Lion King Broadway show was touring I created an opportunity for the families to come and have an afternoon with the cast members on post and then stay after seeing the show and talk to all of the cast members as well as see the set up close. I advocate for the pregnant and postpartum women within the community as well. We really need to support each other since often our families are states away.
What do you advocate for? Why?
Women's health. I advocate for pregnant and postpartum women. Women do not get the support they deserve especially after child birth or as we head into menopause. I have been taking classes and working with women for a while in order to be a better advocate and educator for them. When we have a child often our 6 weeks check up is all we get but the baby gets a check up every few months. I was women to know they don't have to live with ailments from pregnancy or beyond. I can help you. I want to advance the care of women, spouses and soldiers.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I currently teach for SLAM and have been working with military spouses over the past few years in order to help spread this message. I was on the committee that helped change the P3T test from 6 weeks after birth to one year. I will continue to advocate for women's health.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I hope to accomplish a bigger platform for women's health. I hope to help the armed services see that by investing in their female soldiers and spouses that we can make the quality of life for many families better. By making this quality of life better then we help with overall mental and physical health. I think a lot of those that have felt like suicide in the army often feel like they have no support. I want to change this mindset. I want to change the mindset that women are weaker or somehow inferior for having children and serving. We must work together to change this culture.
Rebekah is an avid Milspouse/mom supporter, and will go out of her way to help a fellow Milspouse out. She is genuine and cares about every member of your family (and remembers all of their names)! When we met, our spouses were heading out for a deployment, and the unit was not supporting us, and she immediately set out to build our community. She has currently been working to help mamas out with postpartum recovery, as well as training women in a stroller strong class. She just embodies the essence of the true resilient Milspouse, and deserves to be recognized.
- by Chrissy Gibbs