Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Holloman Air Force Base
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 1
Share your military spouse story:
I first met my husband in 2009, when he was fresh out of basic training. The crush was instant, but it took EIGHT years for the timing to be right! We dated long distance for four months before I packed up and joined him at Seymour Johnson AFB. 90 days later we were married, and 10 days after that he deployed. It was quite the whirlwind! The transition to becoming a military spouse was a struggle for me. My father is a retired Sailor, so the military life was not new, however, being the one inside the relationship was completely different. I went from a life full of friends and family, working in an office full of people, feeling like I had a grasp on what I was doing with my life. Then it changed to working remotely, my new husband gone, and no idea how to make friends or where I fit in. I lost myself and fell into a depression. When I finally got the courage to seek help, I was fortunate a doctor put me on a care plan that really turned things around. Once I was feeling more like myself, I took a huge leap and attended a spouse event held by a military non-profit. Attending that one event sparked a new drive in me which led me to volunteer with that non-profit and my entire path as a military spouse changed. I felt like I had purpose again! I felt a passionate calling to be there, be present, and support other military spouses! As well as volunteering with that organization, I was able to help spouses in two Squadrons. I served as a Key Spouse for the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron and was hand-selected by the 4th Munitions Squadron Commander to be a Key Spouse Mentor for them. Prior to PCS’ing to Holloman AFB, I was nominated and awarded as the 4th Fighter Wing Key Spouse of the Year at Seymour Johnson AFB and the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. After getting settled in at Holloman AFB, I expanded my reach from Key Spouse to being elected the President of the Holloman Spouses Organization, a combined club serving both the enlisted and officer's spouses.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
In late August 2021, when Holloman AFB was 1 of 7 bases selected for Operation Allies Welcome, I signed on as the lead on behalf of the Holloman Spouses Organization. As OAW Lead, I worked with an impressive volunteer force to setup a donation center and a mother's room. With that first flight, the first woman in the mother's room, she looked so fragile she could have shattered if you'd touch her. It was gut wrenching. Three days later when I was able to visit The Village that had been set up to house them, amidst the hundreds of people we had already received, we found her. She was absolutely beaming. Every minute we had put into this effort was worth it in that single second. I still hold on to that smile any time I have moments of doubt that I can make a difference. Due to the enormity of all that happened during this time, I was awarded the 2022 Volunteer Excellence Award from the USAF Chief of Staff, an honor that spurred me to make similar impacts on the families stationed here.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
My personal struggles with adjusting to the military life have motivated me to volunteer as much as I can. This allows me the chance to advocate for what our families need and to promote the charitable side of the Spouses Organization. I need to note that when it comes to supporting the Holloman community, I have a whole tribe helping. I am forever grateful to each and every one of them. Nothing would happen without them, they just let me stand in the front. With that being said, we have supported the Holloman community by doubling the monthly credit our Thrift Store allots to the families who need it, we've increased the amount our Spouses Organization will give in scholarships, and more than quadrupled the amount we're giving out in charitable donations. We have also committed to volunteering our time to at least one community engagement activity a quarter.
Describe how you support your community:
Acting on the commitment for community engagement, I have encouraged the Spouses Organization to host more than one dinner for Airmen in the Dorms, work the base's Fall Fest, cheerlead an entire section of a local race, and assist with the annual Airmen Cookie Drive. The Cookie Drive provided the opportunity to pull in our local Alamogordo community. While collecting cookies in town, I was interviewed by the local radio station. I had the chance to speak on behalf of the base and the Spouses Organization to express how important the town is to both our missions. Following the interview town leaders reached out to me. I have been able to develop those relationships to secure even more support. I also enjoy volunteering biweekly with Meals on Wheels. My current goal is to help provide to the homeless population in Alamogordo, as there is no resource for that demographic, working with Runners Refuge Dream Center and the upstart of their venture.
What do you advocate for? Why?
My focus is on how I can help others thrive with the challenges we face. Just surviving is not enough. It wasn't until I was introduced to an organization, 100% New Mexico, that I was able to get a clearer vision on how to make that happen. The organization, created from the principles of the book “100% Community”, outlines 10 pillars that are vital to a community in order for it to thrive. Many of these pillars are issues constantly at the forefront of what our military families are struggling with. Medical care, food insecurity, financial security, housing, education, job opportunities... It's a big undertaking to try and hit them all, but to see our military community thrive, we must strive for no less than 100%.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
To reach military families, I have an active social media presence that highlights not only the Spouse’s Organization, but additional base and local community events and resources. I speak on these in person at the New Spouse Welcome events, put on monthly by the Military & Family Readiness Center, as well as at their quarterly Heartlink events. To ensure we reach even more families on base, I insisted on creating a Community Connection board at our Thrift Store. When it comes to advocating for what will help our military families thrive, I take a page from Hamilton’s book and put myself “in the room where it happens”. I enjoy attending meetings and events I view as useful to spouses, as well as chair events to keep personally involved. I use these as opportunities to advocate for community needs, spread the word of what the Spouse Organization is doing and educate myself on what the other base entities have going on so we can work as a team to get our families to 100%.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
What an absolute honor it is just to be nominated! If selected as the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®, I would use the title to continue my work of helping our military families thrive! This program brings resources, opportunities, and collaborations to the hands of those who are willing to put in the work. The audience expands and with that the ideas and programs for how to thrive expand. A platform this mainstream is what it takes to see our military community get to 100%.
Bridget is selfless and kind always putting others before herself and that was proven as she was Holloman's volunteer of the year. Helping initiate donations and flights for Operation Allies Welcome, which started in Sept 21 and ended Mar 22. Serving as the Holloman spouses club president, where she has raised funds for numerous charities and the club. She has doubled participation with the spouses base in wing wide events. She's is also a local Meals on Wheels volunteer. She headed up the Air Force ball decorations committee and is also chaired for the upcoming wing awards banquet. Bridget is also fostering relationships with buiness owners, members of the chamber of commerce and others in and around the city of Alamogordo to build relationships with Holloman. She wants to make Holloman a better place for those stationed there and change the dynamic as a military spouse. She cares about everyone and deserves to be recognized for all her personal and philanthropic endeavors.
- by Kelly Miller