Ann-Marie Hamrick

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Joint Expedintionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story

Number of Deployments: 3

Number of PCS's: 5

Share your military spouse story:
In 2014 I was in graduate school working for Yelp! and landed my dream job and the FedEx WHQ in Memphis, TN. My first day there a very suave man with long hair and a beard came up and started asking me so many questions. He explained he was in the Army (7th Group), but was just injured and was here on a 10 month training with the industries to rehab. He says for him it was love at first sight, although it took me 2-3 months to be convinced to go along on this crazy journey. I grew up in Memphis, there's not a lot of military presence there, so I was completely oblivious to the life I was about to begin. Six months into dating he asked me to move with him to Newport, RI while he attended Naval War College. I was hesitate because we were so new, but I also had never lived anywhere other than Memphis. It was the best 10 months. We lived in a tiny 2 bedroom home... it was the perfect opportunity to learn about each other and fall in love. One year into dating, Brad asked me to marry him. Maybe to get on his orders to the 173rd in Italy, but I like to think it's because he was so certain. Two days after our wedding we moved to Italy. I was highly involved in the FRG from 2015-2017 in Vicenza because a week after we arrived my husband left for the Baltics. The community I had there is still irreplaceable. We still are always there for each other. It's something I am trying to replicate as I go along. To create a community where no matter your duration as a military spouse, you matter and you are a part of our family. Since Italy, we've been at ARCENT at Shaw AFB, SOCOM at MacDill AFB, and now 11th BN at Fort Story/Fort Eustis. My husband has been gone the majority of our marriage (until now), so I realize the impact community has. It's something I strive to create and maintain for all our spouses.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
173rd and now my husband's BN command have been the opportunities where I have gotten to lead. 173rd I helped with every ball, every coffee, every social. At the BN I not only ensure spouses are included in as many events as possible, but I've also tried to improve the quality of life for the younger soldiers. I have created a food pantry in partnership with YMCA Armed Forces, USAA, & Helping the Homefront. Crumbl Cookies donates cookies every Wednesday for a morale boost to the soldiers. We've partnered with the VA Beach Police, Fire DEPT, and Schools in the area to also ensure we are involved in the community! With that, schools have cooked hot meals for the barracks, groceries have been donated to the pantry and big changes are being made. Because Fort Story had no options for food when we arrived, I also found food trucks to rotate on the base. We hit so many snags, but we won't give up to make sure the 11th BN is taken care of!

Describe your involvement in the military community:
Extremely. There's probably not enough space on here for me to describe all my involvement, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I am a senior advisor for the SFRG to assist the eleven companies. I am involved in any community outreach. We just planned a BN Ball for 710 people. I was on the ball committee ensuring we could get ticket prices down to $5. I am involved with BOSS to make sure the single soldiers are also taken care of. I've supported soldiers in meetings with barracks administration. I've relayed the issues soldiers to my husband, whether it be pay, food, family or life so he can ensure he can take care of them along their side. I work with the BN PAO team closely. I am the CARE team lead to make sure any emergencies are tracked. Every baby born is given a hand made paciclip I made. I did the art for the BN shirts/hats/sweatshirts. I've painted the new gym with the BN logo before the equipment was delivered. I work closely with ACS, Fleet & Family Readiness, USO.

Describe how you support your community:
I am involved with the USO, YMCA Armed Forces Hampton Roads, and Fort Story Community Garden. We frequently partner with the VA Beach police department to do community outreach events. We do school supply drives, children's shoes drives, and beach clean ups. We are involved with all our children's activities/schools/organizations and our church. We try to do as much as our schedule allows. It's very important to develop community relationships to assist the soldiers if they are transitioning out or want to get more volunteer hours.

What do you advocate for? Why?
So many things. Since we've been at Fort Story I have had laser focus on improving the quality of life for barracks soldiers. This base has no DFAC, no restaurant, and no commissary. Their only option for food when we arrived was the gas station. And they are not permitted to use any other cooking device besides a microwave. As a parent, I couldn't fathom knowing my child only had gas station food to eat. It's a hard decision to join the military, usually its to improve their life and being here wasn't giving them an opportunity. I like to think in the six months we've been here this has drastically changed. It's so near to my heart because we adopted our youngest two children from foster care. Many of these young soldiers don't have a strong family support and it's something I hope we can provide a sense of. Adoption is also something I am advocating heavily for. Especially to reform the process for the military. There needs to be better resources for families interested!

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
For the soldiers, I just interact with them. I try to ensure they know my husband and I both care about their well-being. We have worked hard to find them various options for food. Food trucks, the food pantry, food delivery, and I created a microwave menu for them. For adoption/foster, I use social media. I documented our journey, the heart aches of it, the issues/barriers we ran into. I plan to develop a state by state guide to adoption for the military. We were told so many different things, spent so much money, and went through so many heart breaks because we weren't provided with accurate information and allowed an agency to control the beginning of our three year adoption journey.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
I'd love to bring awareness to foster care/adoption for military. That is is available and CAN BE affordable. I'd like to work closely with organizations to simplify this process for service members/families. This goes hand in hand with improving the young soldiers' quality of life. Many of them come out of similar situations and choose the military. It's a hard decision to make and they deserve to have the opportunity for a better life. The military has been so good to us as a family. We've learned and grown from it, but there's always room for improvement. I know we can make a difference for those who follow.


Since taking battalion command in June, my wife has gone above and beyond for the 1300 strong formation we have. We are in split locations both on joint bases. The fort story side has had significant issues over the last 4 years with pay & food availability. They only have a gas station to buy from. My wife has partnered with multiple non-profits to create a food pantry, receive hot meal donations, created a “healthy gas station list/menu” for the barracks and is working with the community garden on base to build a barracks garden. Knowing morale was so low, she worked diligently to get prices of our ball down to $5 and because of this, we had 710 people attend. She’s produced our monthly newsletter, has created a well functioning SFRG from absolutely nothing. She plans every homecoming, helps expectant moms/dads, wants to reform military adoption/foster. All while raising our 4 children. Two who we adopted from foster care a year ago. She does more than I can fit. It’s only been 6mo.
- by Bradley Hamrick