Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Laughlin Air Force Base
Number of Deployments: 2
Number of PCS's: 6
Share your military spouse story:
My military spouse story started the day after my separation from active duty in the Air Force in March of 2016. I served almost 10 years in the Air Force as a Security Forces Staff Sergeant, being stationed at three bases and deploying once in the Middle East. After my separation, my husband recently returned from a 6-month deployment and was selected to become a First Sergeant. This selective position required him to attend the First Sergeant Academy in Alabama. However, everything occurred so quickly and happened in the middle of the school year affecting our three children. Once he returned from deployment, he in-processed and then out-processed from the base. He prepared for his trip to Alabama and I prepared for the rest of the family’s trip to Ohio. After a couple months apart, we finally rejoined at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where I quickly became a First Sergeant Spouse. This was immediately challenging as I was expected to attend many events, such as awards ceremonies, graduations and other formal events. During this time, I was appointed as the Key Spouse for the 88th Dental Squadron and thrived in this position. During my time on active duty, I understood the hardships of deployments and have been through the challenges of being a deployed spouse. I quickly related to both the deployed spouses of my husband’s unit and related to the active duty members who recently returned. As a key spouse mentor at Scott Air Force Base, I mentored many new deployed spouses of our Security Forces Squadron and supported them during family emergencies. These actions ensured deployed families were taken care of so the deployed members could focus on the wartime mission. During my time as a Key Spouse or a Key Spouse Mentor, I have continuously cared for my deployed spouses, which enabled the Combatant Commanders ability to execute the World-Wide deployed mission.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Through my prior experience as a key spouse and mentor across two installations and three Major Commands, I was elected as the Laughlin Spouses Club Social Chair, planning five special events, directing 40 volunteers, allocating a $1,200 budget and mentoring 64 military spouses that enabled the Air Force's largest undergraduate training program. During this time, I created the bases first-ever Spouse Drop Night, highlighting military spouses’ talents and put them together to create opportunities to allow them to exercise their abilities. I showcased nine new spouses and 15 small business owners. Simultaneously, I collaborated with the US Air Force Academy and Air University historians for three weeks to write a Joan Orr article to kick-off the Wing's first-ever Spouse Drop Night event, resulting in a heartfelt article that was published on the official web page of the Spouse of the 22nd Chief of Staff of the Air Force and inspired 7,300 official followers.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I strive to support my military community throughout a couple of different military bases. During this time, I initiated unit morale visits while generating $620 to hand-make and package 240 breakfast burritos for 24 posts and patrols during grueling 12-hour shifts, benefiting 159 on-duty Security Forces personnel, who defend the US Transportation Command and 4 Major Commands. In addition, I cared for a distraught deployed spouse and assisted the First Sergeant in reducing family strain when a family emergency forced the deployed member to return to home station early, coordinating follow-up family support to teach healthy coping skills to ensure the Airman returned to duty on time. As the senior spouse mentor for a weekly Bible Study and a private organization called Mothers of Preschool Children, I enhanced their out dated course materials and parenting skills by sharing personal experiences and providing helping agency guidance and encouragement to 24 junior military spouses.
Describe how you support your community:
I continue to support my community many different ways. I love to share my rich Mexican culture and this drove me to build the Scott Spouses Club’s first-ever Taco Club. I shared multiple ethnicities throughout the private organization, planning 14 off-base field trips, educating 108 military spouses while boosting community engagement and support. Fitness is very important for me and my family. After I Graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with my Graduate degree, I developed a Community Liaison program, collaborating with three local organizations and raising 320 pounds of goods for families in need. I love to share my faith as a Christian and quickly volunteered to support my churches on-line program. I discovered problems with their streaming capabilities and revitalized their Facebook website to be more user friendly. I reconstructed the menu and scriptures that was enjoyed by 7,200 followers on an annual basis.
What do you advocate for? Why?
As a prior security forces member, I have been alarmed by the number of suicides within the security forces community and our military members. Both active duty and veterans have been plagued by mental health issues. There have been many families that have been devastated from the death of a loved one. The answer to this problem is complex and in order to address the issue I believe it is necessary to gather forces to combat the issue. Currently, there are non-profits that are working to certify counselors that can teach military members techniques to destress situations. Creating a task force to generate ideas, combine non-profits, and advocating for the cause can all help tackle the problem. As members begin to transition from the military, they can benefit from having an organization that can help the transition to military life. Currently, the military needs additional resources to help members feel the camaraderie, brotherhood, and community they felt previously.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have experience in communicating effectively to the public. One of my greatest strengths is to communicate authentically and genuinely. Spouses and military members often compliment me by saying I help them feel seen. In the military I was the President for a private organization which consisted of 2,000 military members. I held meetings, spoke in large crowds, and created sub-committees which I lead. I have also lead a 30 day on line bible study through a local church. This allowed me to learn how to communicate online and create a community through a network of military spouses and church members. Currently, as the social chair I have to speak in front of a large crowd and lead our programs. As a bilingual speaker I am able to connect with spouses from different cultures. At Laughlin, I created a group of international spouses to help spouses from different countries connect. I am excited for the opportunity to develop the skill and learn from other spouses.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
If awarded the title of Military Spouse of Year I would hope to be the face for people that feel that they cannot accomplish or succeed through trials. As an immigrant, veteran, and minority I feel that it is important for minorities to know that it is possible to succeed. I have always been the type of person both in my upbringing and through the military to demonstrate excellence in all I do. I would identify achievable goals, work with other spouses, and execute tasks to help us get towards our goal. I would try to think outside the box and try to achieve as much as possible with the resources provided. I would hope to build an impact and initiate a movement to bring positive acts to our military community. I have been mentored by previous winners and have seen first hand the change and impact this award can bring to our military families and spouses. I am grateful life has provided me the diverse life experiences to bring a wide perspective and help our cause.
It is my honor to nominate my spouse, Arlene Ogan. She has been an active member of two Air Force Base Spouses Clubs across three Major Commands. She used her previous leadership and management skills in military spouse communities to become the founder of four Spouses Club committees. Her committees kept military spouses involved as she trained them on physical fitness, cultural differences and encouraged spouses to support the local community. Arlene built a partnership as she continuously communicated with the military and civilian communities to ensure spouses were kept informed. Additionally, Arlene inspired many military spouses to step outside of their comfort zone to improve themselves. Finally, our communities and I want to thank Arlene for all of her hard work, inspiration, and advocacy for the value of a military spouse.
- by Timothy Ogan