Branch: Coast Guard
Duty Station: USCG Washington, DC
Number of Deployments: 9
Number of PCS's: 8
Share your military spouse story:
My military spouse journey began like many others, I was young and in love and my future husband was young, handsome, and looked good in uniform. This story line has been told many times in movies and books, and this relationship happened to kindle in a single-screen theater of a quaint storybook town. Fast forward through four years of pre-FaceTime long-distance relationship management using public pay phones and old-school letter writing, and there we found ourselves, standing at the altar, an officer and a cosmetologist, naïve to the journey ahead. A short year later we welcomed our first of two children followed shortly by our first of eight PCS’s, moving from a familiar area on a ship to an unfamiliar region, on a ship. One year into our marriage, with a newborn, we got our first exposure to the demands of a command cadre position and the informal start of my role as an advocate for the military family. Like many military spouses, the outreach was focused on our small unit families and ensuring that while the ship was away, those left behind knew they had a network of people to lean on. Honestly, the role had a lot to do with my need to feel connected to any part of the unfamiliar community where we lived. With my spouse in a command cadre role, focusing most of his time on the crew and their needs, I found myself, as a new mother, lonely and in need of community. Over the years, and numerous command cadre tours later, I wasn’t a lonely new mother and spouse anymore, and I found my role transition from a more self-focused, informal social one to that of more others-focused, an advocate for the military family. From leading various spouse associations, to co-organizing a military ball, to more direct support of individual military spouses experiencing the spectrum of life’s events, I worked hard to be present, involved, and supportive; connecting people to resources, and ensuring that, to the best of my ability, military spouses never felt alone.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
While stationed in Hawaii I was made aware the local Chapter of the Spouses Association was going to be disestablished due to an absence in volunteers to lead the organization. Hearing the call, I corralled a couple friends, and together we took over leadership of the Association, keeping it relevant and ensuring the club provided the military spouse a network. During this same time, we lived in Privatized Housing, an otherwise lovely area with good people, however the neighborhood was not on a base, and suffered a string of break-ins, my house included. As a result, I formed a Neighborhood Watch, bringing Military Police, City Police, and Housing Management together to identify security risks and take action to reduce the neighborhood’s vulnerabilities. As part of this initiative, we secured better lighting, cut down foliage that hindered clear lines of sight for safety, and held monthly meetings to sustain communication and assess the effectiveness of our safety measures.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I have served as President, Vice President, Secretary, Corresponding Secretary of Executive Boards for various Spouses Associations across the country and I’ve also served as the Ombudsman, supporting families of my husband’s past units. During a recent tour at a major shore command, I served as the Command Cadre Spouse liaison serving as an advisor to the Ombudsman Team and Spouse’s Association during a time of great uncertainty. I see my function as connecting people to resources so they can achieve the best version of themselves; from providing real talk about some of the challenges that are part of military life, to connecting families to Family Resources, my involvement revolves around connection.
Describe how you support your community:
Connecting spouses to resources and each other so they can thrive, regardless of where they are stationed, is my passion. During the COVID-19 outbreak, it became apparent that mental health was rapidly becoming more prevalent to our military family’s resilience. I worked to connect the spouses, and myself, to ASIST training to increase awareness of mental health concerns and equip more people with the tools they need to best support others. These types of support tools and engagement opportunities help reinforce that nobody is alone, and that help is always just an ASK away.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I am an advocate for mental health awareness, community, and connecting people to resources they need to achieve their best selves. This passion stems from my history as a military spouse, having married and starting a family very young, it was other spouses who became my network to help me keep my sanity, connect me to resources, and to be there for me in my times of need. It is important to pay-it-forward by providing the network to others that was extended to me when starting out.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
My advocacy to date has been mostly grass roots engagement and using social media to create opportunities for person-to-people activities. Whether it is a simple text to say hello, providing a meal for a family, to organizing social gatherings, to providing commands with the insight they need to better understand family needs, this is how I’ve communicated on military spouse issues.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I want to make conversations about mental health and counseling more common place, removing any negative stigma around the topic. Creating environments where military spouses are empowered to seek the healthiest version of themselves in a psychologically safe space will be integral to increasing the attractiveness of military service and supporting retention.
Kristin is a wife, mother, teacher, friend and Coast Guard spouse. While Kristin currently serves as the Executive Sectretary of the Coast Guard Spouse Club of Washington DC, she has served in various roles of Coast Guard Spouse Association leadership over the 20+ years she has been a Coast Guard spouse.
Kristin cheerfully invests in others by building relationships with Coast Guard spouses and by serving her USCG community in various ways, from volunteering with the Joint Armed Forces of Washington Luncheon, training as a mental health advocate to help others, to coordinating meals for the Fisher House. She is a wonderful example to other military spouses!
I highly recommend Kristin Ramassini as the next Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year.
- by Danielle Dash