Branch: Marine Corps
Duty Station: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Number of Deployments: 4
Number of PCS's: 8
Share your military spouse story:
As a young lady who fell deeply in love with her Marine I had no idea what the military life was all about. We had nothing to our names but knew that whatever came our way we could conquer. My mother was my role model who embodied giving to others. As I learned the lingo and lifestyle of the military world I had no idea what an impact military spouses would make on me. I began to see that one person could make a difference. From that point on I joined spouses clubs, volunteered with organizations, became an active member in my community, I am an advocate for outreach that benefits our single marines and military families. In this wonderful life we get opportunities that benefit so many and I am honored to have a small role in making a difference. I hope to share the kindness that other military spouses showed me.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I speak frequently at several events that host our military community. Just this holiday season I spoke to the women's club of Laguna Niguel and had a power point of all the wonderful outreach we have accomplished. Most recently, my husband and I attended an event where we spoke on how we value our partnership with the city of Dana Point. We collected thousands of toys this past Christmas (at several events) that were given out to the children of Camp Pendleton. Spreading the word on how important community partnerships with our locals is a great way to have military community support.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
During one of my husbands deployments(many years ago) I implemented a baby program. I had no funding so I couponed and bargain shopped for all the diapers and supplies. If a spouse was having a baby while their husband was deployed I would ask permission to visit and drop off a meal, and a goody bag full of diapers, wipes, lotions and baby items. I again did this during his last deployment with 1st battalion 4th Marines. The logo is a dragon so I nicknamed the program "Baby Dragons". As the years have gone by this program has turned into such a big assistance to mothers. This Tuesday 1/18/21 I am having diapers delivered to my home from local military supporters that will be delivered to moms in need of diapers here on CP. I also provide events for spouses to get involved in such as dental clinics, fundraisers, Christmas parties, paint nights, wine nights, DIY nights, countless outreach programs such as hygiene kits for the returning Marines from the Afghanistan bombing.
Describe how you support your community:
I support the community by volunteering, keeping a positive attitude when speaking to others and by acknowledging that one person can really affect how we treat each other. I joined the military spouse association as a volunteer and then moved to 2nd vp which is the fundraising chair and then vice president. I now focus my time by being the Marine Corps League outreach chair. This position gives me the opportunity to impact several thousands of spouses and families. I have partnerships with several other organizations such as Homefront America, USO, Blue Star Families, Compassion with Action and with several Chaplains and DRC's aboard Camp Pendleton. Within a day I am able to support emergency needs that may arise to support the military families her on CP.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for Single Marines and military spouses because I feel there is a need. With Single Marines, they come home from deployment and head to an empty barracks room. With the Marines of 2/1 coming home from Afghanistan after the bombing last year I could not bear they would be going to an empty barracks room. I quickly gathered supplies and with the support of the community made 614 hygiene "booty bags" filled with top of the line hygiene products, cotton towels and more. I am passionate of letting them know they matter. On Christmas day my family handed out treats, gift cards, socks and love to the Single Marines that stayed home in their barracks room. This was the 3rd year we have organized this and every year it is getting bigger. With the military spouses, I know how important it is to get together and make friends! I love planning events where we can all gather and find our tribe.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Described the outreach I do for my platform in the above post. With that said just yesterday on 1/20/2022 LtCol Whited ( his last day in command was 1/20/2022) presented me a certificate and beautiful letter of appreciation for all that was done for the return of 2nd Battallion 1st Marines. Spreading the message that military spouses are here to help is what drives me to continue doing community outreach and keep advocating for our Single Marines and military families. This week I will be working with the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines to renovate their recreation room for the Single Marines. Having a fun place for the Marines to hang out in is vital to uplifting their morale.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
When I received the nomination from Grace Romo I felt such love and truly knew what it meant to feel that it is 'an honor just to be nominated'. Then, today I received another nomination. I felt that if I am honored with the role of AFI Military Spouse of the Year I would be able to reach a bigger audience to further my passion of helping our military community.
Sonia Torres has a heart greater than I have ever seen. Her love and kindness for people is extraordinary. She demonstrates this within the military community time and time again. Whenever someone is in need big or small, Sonia is there to make sure they are taken care of. She is a selfless women filled with passion and dedication. Sonia is more than deserving of a MSOY title. The military community to include single Marines/Sailors, military spouses, military kids, and military parents all across Camp Pendleton have been touched by the initiatives Sonia has taken part in. From holiday cheer to meal trains she never misses a beat. Sonia deserves recognition for her hard work, time and selfless acts she has given to the military community over the last several years.
- by Grace Romo
Sonia is involved with many organizations on Camp Pendleton. She helps support families & other spouses. She’s VP of the Military Spouse Association of Camp Pendleton which she helps with fundraising efforts for charity funding & scholarships for defendants. She also is involved in community outreach to help spouses form lasting friendships with each other & helps families when needed on base. Sonia is also a volunteer with the Marine League in San Clemente & works all year to support Marines & Sailors as well as their families. She also volunteers with her husband’s unit. She has a heart for volunteering in our military community & has taught that value of being a servant leader to her children.
- by Natalie Ealy