Branch: Coast Guard
Duty Station: Coast Guard District 11
Number of Deployments: 4
Number of PCS's: 1
Share your military spouse story:
I met my husband while he was stationed in Baltimore in 2010. I worked at the enlisted club on base, part time, in addition to my regular full time corporate position. Soon after we met, he came to Training Center (TRACEN) Petaluma for A school and was stationed on a cutter in Cape May, NJ once he graduated. We married in 2013 and he geobachelor’d until he was stationed at the Sector in Curtis Bay, MD. I lived in Maryland my entire life, so although we have been through several patrols while he was on the cutter, I had a great deal of support from friends and family. My spouse story, to me, began in 2019 when we PCS’d and he returned, as an Operations Specialist (OS) instructor, to Petaluma, California. I left my career behind and we moved here toward the end of 2019. We immediately jumped into volunteering with the local spouse club. We had a photobooth business we started in MD and we donated our services, time and resources to the base for their holiday events. Once Covid hit it was very isolating. We lived off base, so it was difficult to meet new people. When the spouse club on base reached out to the community looking for a treasurer, I volunteered. It was absolutely out of my comfort zone, but being across the country from everyone I knew, I was looking for support through the military spouse community. Not only did I meet so many wonderful people and new friends, but I found purpose for myself that I was not expecting.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
As President of CGSAP, I have tried to keep community outreach at the forefront. I’ve hosted luncheons for both Ombudsman at Large Amy Vanderhaden and Carol Jones - creating a comfortable atmosphere for spouses to address issues experienced by military families. I have organized meal trains, art events, and welcome aboard socials to bring together local spouses as well as advertise their small businesses. During the month of the military child I coordinated and executed a base-wide festival. I was able to bring together the resources we had available to create a carnival-like atmosphere. The event was free to families, aside from fundraising efforts by the Spring CCTI group. I also coordinated our now annual Zombie Run, bringing morale to the families and students during Halloween. Additionally, I have been able to assist in getting resources to our families by partnering with several non-profits like California Friends of Veterans Inc. and The Cost of Courage Foundation.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
My son joined the CG in 2021 and attended OS school that fall. I see him in the faces of the many junior enlisted members I interact with on base either while working at the club or volunteering. I routinely mentor them as I would my own child. For the past 3 years I have gathered thousands of donations from various companies, and we distribute them during our ‘Stocking for Students Program.” The groundwork for this begins several months in advance, reaching out and collecting donations from partners such as the Coast Guard Foundation, the USO, and many others, for the 300 students attached to TRACEN away from their families. This year I coordinated the first Student Holiday party since Covid, where we distributed the bags. I have also been fortunate enough to assist the CG with its efforts in recruiting. This past year I have been able to attend several recruiting events, using my experience as a spouse and a mother to talk to potential spouses and parents of future Coasties.
Describe how you support your community:
During the post-Covid era, I used my influence within CGSAP and as a MWR employee to bring back base events that were cancelled due to the pandemic. In 2022 I was able to gain command approval to reintroduce Karaoke and Trivia back to the base club, thus helping to reinvigorate the establishment to its pre-Covid status. I also moved our monthly meetings and paint nights to the club in order to bring families together, as well as held wine tastings. One wine tasting event I coordinated paired local wines with Girl Scout cookies and assisted the local troop with sales. Not only have I been an avenue of support for our military families on TRACEN, I have been an advocate for our local civilian population by organizing events like “Adopt a Family” during the holiday seasons providing gifts to local families. Continuing in our Coast Guard community outreach, I have helped TRACEN in their volunteer events at wildlife rescues and assisted in events for local veterans organizations.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for volunteerism. This is something I speak of regularly, not only to other military spouses, but to the junior enlisted that I regularly encounter. Find a need and do what you can to fill it, but most importantly - just show up. Quite often people find that they get involved for one reason but are compelled to continue due to the fulfillment found in service. You can find community and purpose by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. When that new thing subsequently helps others, there is a feeling unlike anything else. For the junior enlisted, pushing these values early in their career helps lay the groundwork for the type of service member they will become. For spouses this helps ease the adjustment into military life. Join your local association – that’s an easy first step!
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Volunteering is absolutely a family affair for us. My husband and I work closely to organize and promote events on and off base. Many people think that they don’t have time in their schedule for all the extra, but if you get your family involved it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like family time – and it is quality family time. If you get your friends involved, it feels like social time. What may seem like work to others, is just how we live our lives, and I think we are better for it. We are raising our daughter with the value of service before self. At 8 years old she has volunteered more than most and, to her, this is just what we do. When I saw her scribbling in her notebook a few months back after a long day of set up/breakdown and everything in between, she told me she was planning events for her friends, like me and her daddy.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I am extremely honored to be nominated for MSOY. In 2013, when I became a military spouse, I would’ve never thought I’d be so involved. In my now second and final term as President, I have felt more fulfilled with the work I’ve done within the community than in any other position I have ever held. What started as a venue to meet friends has turned into, for me, a way to make our collective community better for families and increase morale after a difficult pandemic. I advocate for involvement in local Spouses Associations, and I’d like to promote the importance of membership and community involvement. It is my desire that they be seen as a place community members can go for support and resources. It is my hope that the work myself and others have done to improve life for military families on board TRACEN Petaluma can be replicated at other military installations.
I am nominating Julia Young for MSOY. Julia’s dedication to her family, the community, and the Coast Guard (CG) has been superb. As the President of the local spouses association, she coordinated over 20 events for the community. Most notably she organized several base events including a Military Child Appreciation Festival, a Zombie run, and a holiday meal give away. She has answered the call for CG’s recruiting efforts, by participating in recruiting events, speaking to parents and potential CG spouses. Additionally she has assisted with several community outreach events for TRACEN. As a member of MWR, she was responsible for the revitalization of morale after Covid, bringing back trivia, karaoke, and holiday events at the club. As the mother of a Coastie, she routinely assists and mentors the TRACEN students, away from their families, including gathering donations for them during the holidays. Julia has been a shining example of what dedication to duty in a spouse looks like.
- by Terrence young
I am writing to nominate Julia Young for the Military spouse of the year. Julia is a Coast Guard spouse married to OS1Terrance Young, an instructor at a major Coast Guard Training Center. a mother of two. Julia goes above and beyond in serving not only as a supportive spouse to her Coastie and super mom to her kids, but to our Coast Guard community. Julia serves as President for the TRACEN Petaluma spouses club. During the height of the pandemic, when families were unable to connect in the usual manner, Julia saw the opportunity to connect families via Zoom to give some semblance of normalcy; from hosting Zoom paint nights to conducting wellness checks, Julia provided the needed connective tissue to keep the community moving forward. And now that it is safer to be together, Julia continues to plan engaging activities for the student population and spouse community. Julia’s innate ability to boost morale is key. Vote for Julia as our next Military Souse of the Year!
- by Kristin Ramassini