Cyndi Grothe

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield

Number of Deployments: 0

Number of PCS's: 6

Share your military spouse story:
In 2012 I married my husband and then a week later, I was thrown into this military life. Nobody told me all that would require me to start doing. I quickly began volunteering in various ways. I started out as the secretary for my husband's SFRG. I then began volunteering for the Spouses Club at Fort Leonard Wood. Throughout our many moves I have always wanted to throw myself into volunteering and helping others. In 2013, we had our son and at almost 2 years old he was diagnosed with Autism. We then started speech, occupational therapy and ABA therapy 5 days a week, All while continuing volunteering around my community. In May of 2023, the day after Mother's Day, my life changed. It all started not feeling well the day prior and seeing my provider. She told me it was nothing but allergies. I told her it wasn't, she said I would be fine all night I still didn’t feel right. I woke up and knew something was wrong . I ended up in the ER Upon arrival, I was unable to walk in a straight line and I was slurring my words and couldn’t formulate them all the way. They quickly rushed me to the back and ran some test. They came back and informed us that they needed to rush me to Savannah to the hospital. The following morning when I woke up , I had lost all feeling from the waist down and it was moving up, and reached all the way up the Chest. I was quickly moved to ICU and placed on oxygen and monitored and started treatment. The first treatment didn’t go great they believe it caused another TIA while the treatment was going. They quickly stopped it and the following day I started a new treatment. It’s normal protocol is 5 treatments but with how quickly the disease progressed they did 7 treatments. I was diagnosed with 2 TIA 's, Bell’s Palsy, GBS and Myasthenia Gravis. I had to enter rehab to relearn basic things again. I even missed my daughters High School graduation. When I was able to return home I continued therapy and threw myself back in serving my community.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I currently serve as the Co-Lead for my Husbands SFRG, where I cook for 165 soldiers twice a month to help raise funds. I serve on the Marne Community and Spouses Club board. In the past I have served as secretary for the SFRG. I have also served as In-reach and Outreach Coordinator for PWOC. I have also served as the President of an organization called AT EASE. I've been on Spouses Club Boards as Ways and Means, 1st VP, 2nd VP, secretary and most recently the Parliamentarian.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I've adopted highways at our duty stations where we clean them every 2-3 months. I've volunteered with an organization here called Keep Liberty Beautiful where we clean areas around the community, we do a recycle event, plant trees, and whatever they need help with. I also have volunteered as a sub-club leader doing lunch bunch, book club and coffee club with various Spouses Club's.

Describe how you support your community:
I support the community by helping our soldiers and families. When we have a birth in our company I make the family a baby basket as well as bring them a home cooked meal the day they come home from the hospital as well as set up meal trains for them. I've put together a marriage retreat for our soldiers, when I saw that the divorces were at a high rate in our company.

What do you advocate for? Why?
Making sure that we advocate for ourselves medically. After everything that happened in May we need to make sure we speak up and let them know what's going on with us medically. If we feel something is off we need to continually advocate for ourselves, and not let it just get swept under the rug.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Social media and getting my story out there, that if you know something is not right medically do all you can to advocate for yourself cause you know your body better than anyone.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
Military or not, I want to use my experiences I have encountered with advocating for myself medically in helping countless others who are afraid to speak up.


Cyndi is an amazing military spouse who has been an inspiration throughout the past year. She was diagnosed in May of 2023 with two TIAs, Bells Palsy, guillain barre syndrome, myasthenia gravis, was paralyzed from the neck down, was in the hospital for 45 days and had to learn to walk again. Through all of that, she maintained her smile and continued to help her soldier and family and volunteer in any way that she could. Her oldest daughter graduated high school during this time as well. She is the SFRG leader for a company of 165 servicemembers, cooks for the company twice a month and plans events. She also holds multiple board positions for the Marne Community and Spouses Club, volunteers with Wreaths Across America, Keep Liberty Beautiful, Canine Battle Buddies and PTO for her autistic son's school. She is an inspiration every day, and I never see her without a smile.
- by Heather Brock