Branch: Space Force
Duty Station: Nellis Air Force Base
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 3
Share your military spouse story:
This wasn’t supposed to be a story….it was supposed to be a chapter in a much differently planned book. My husband and I were high school sweethearts, and I knew from the beginning we’d end up together. Many people thought we were naïve, but our love for each other has persisted and grown. Joining the Air Force was our way to begin our lives together as a couple and was only intended to be a 4-year gig - then we would go from there. In April we hit 20 years! Needless to say, our original plan took quite the turn. Somewhere throughout those years, we both found ourselves completely committed and engulfed in this military life, the good and the bad. After a while I started becoming more and more active in the military community. First, as a thrift store volunteer, then as a Key Spouse, a board member of a Spouses Club, and as the creator of the Weapons Family Supporters, a group dedicated to supporting USAF/USSF Weapons School students, graduates, and their families. All of these positions have been more fulfilling to me than any job I have ever had. Whether it’s connecting with a fellow spouse, boosting moral, supporting efforts on a national level, or coming up with different ways to help implement change. These positions and opportunities have given me a purpose far greater than I could have ever imagined. Our experiences in the military have helped me grow, helped me gain new perspectives, helped me learn grace, have at times broken me, and have made me stronger. Those experiences have paved way to being part of a community unlike any other. A community I am proud to be a part of and serve as a spouse alongside my best friend.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
The most impactful way to lead, is to lead by example. Not always an easy thing to do, but necessary and something I strive to do daily. In 2020, I started the Weapons Family Supporters, to support the families of students at the 328th (Liberator!) Weapons Squadron at Nellis AFB. I recruited fellow spouses of Weapons School graduates who are also passionate about changing the way we, as spouses, care and support each other and who are willing to work at instilling change and setting the example for future Weapons School spouses. This is with the vision of making stronger Space Force spouses. Together, for the last 2 and 1/2 years this growing group of spouses has helped 57 families. My goal for this group is to ensure it continues to use its span of influence to grow and make a positive impact within our community for the better.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
A major initiative of mine is helping boost the morale of both service members and their spouses/families. An effort that is unique every time. Be it Facebook group posts, spouse's dinners, family events, meals for our unit, letters to spouses/families located in other areas, or providing resources to students in our unit to help maintain connections. One of my favorite things I am involved with is helping distribute food to our military community. I am privileged in that I get to share this experience with my oldest son twice a month. Him and I have also started picking up food from a local grocer to help with the supply. Watching him enjoy serving our community and being a part of something so important has brought me tremendous joy, and days that I will cherish forever. This last year I also became a Spouse Ambassador for the Air Force Aid Society. It has been such an honor to be on the forefront of disseminating and educating individuals of the program's valuable resources.
Describe how you support your community:
To me, the biggest, most impactful way I can continuously support my community is by supporting small businesses. It is simple! By supporting small businesses in our local communities, we (my family and I) are making a direct impact on the families who have put their heart and soul into what they believe in, including their talent and their passion. In doing so, not only are we helping them survive and flourish, but we are building connections, and often, meaningful relationships that end up lasting longer than our time at location. Often times some of these small businesses are veteran or military spouse owned, which makes it even more special as we share an instant commonality. I LOVE seeing these individuals and their businesses thrive!
What do you advocate for? Why?
You know that saying, "there's strength in numbers?" Well, how do you get those numbers? You get them by connecting. Whether connecting directly to an individual, or reaching out to external sources, making connections is the base of all relationships. These connections are what gives us strength. As a spouse who is passionate about all aspects of advocating, I have learned that one person simply cannot advocate for every single topic worthy of the effort. However, by connecting with others, you can build a stronger community. A community passionate about the same or similar topics. Invest in those connections. Support those connections. Nurture them. Maintain them. We need to do better, and we can do better. There is a special power in connectivity that we all need to be collectively engaging in. These very connections are what unite us and bring us spouses from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives together.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
My biggest opportunity to spread the importance of connection was last August when I was invited to speak at the STARCOM Commanders Conference as STARCOM's Spouse of the Year. At this conference I was given the stage in front of STARCOM's Delta Commanders, Senior Enlisted Leaders, and their spouses to speak on the importance of connections and advocating on the value of their Key Spouse program. This incredible opportunity brought together Guardians and Airmen to connect on family morale and mental health challenges with ways to mitigate their impacts. The focus was on personal experience and emphasized inspiring change at the senior leader level and within the community. Additionally, each interaction with a spouse is an opportunity to encourage them to advocate for their needs, desires, and passions without being in the background of their spouse's career. Their role as a spouse is just as significant and helping them feel empowered as individuals is very rewarding.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
We spent over 17 years in the Air Force and are going on 3 years now in the Space Force. In the last few years, I have seen more opportunities for change in ways that spouses and families are advocated for and valued. The Space Force has shown its ability to change and progress in support of families and that mindset would be a benefit to the greater DoD. If chosen for the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title, my biggest objectives would be: 1) Be a conduit of change for others in the DoD and the Space Force. The Space Force value of “Connection” is my passion and vision in all I do to support DoD families and service members. 2) To inspire military spouses to stand up for the change they feel will best support their member and family. 3) Help educate others on the United States Space Force from a spouse’s perspective. And lastly, to learn from the experience.
I nominate Aimee Selix as this year's MSOY. I have known Aimee from her journey as an enlisted spouse to now. She started out as a customer of my home-based business. She was one of the first people to make me feel like what I was doing had value and meant something to our community. Eventually, we would part ways and move to Las Vegas. Soon, I would learn that Aimee would be PCSing there as well. I knew that our squadron needed someone like Aimee to step in and support as the Key Spouse and she did this without question. Having seen the side before Aimee and the side that exists with her in it now, all I can say is that we have been made better because of her. Student and instructor spouses feel loved, cared for and most of all supported. She has taught us all to have a "pay it forward" mentality in any way that we are able. There is such a special dynamic here that cannot be explained, and Aimee was the catalyst for all the wonderful things that make our squadron what it is today.
- by Sarah Hallford
It is great pleasure that I am able to nominate Aimee for 2023 AFI Air Space of the Year. Aimee goes above and beyond in everything she does for the Air Force & Space Force community. She is a great connector and communicator in helping to bring resources, informaiton and support to the families and service members. Aimee shows exemplary leadership in her community and she continues to advocate in areas that will help bring goodwill to the AF & Space community.
Aimee is very worthy of being recognized for this award and representing the Space Force community as the 2023 AFI Branch Space Force of the Year.
- by Miles for the Heart