Hana Romer

Branch: Marine Corps

Duty Station: Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

Number of Deployments: 3

Number of PCS's: 6

Share your military spouse story:
My military spouse story starts a little different. I met my husband while I was serving in the Marines. We met at Edson Range on Camp Pendleton during annual rifle qual. We eloped just 6 weeks later in Vegas. The beginning of our marriage was extremely challenging. I was on recruiting duty, and my husband was a drill instructor. I became pregnant with our first child during this time, and just 6 months after she was born, my spouse deployed to Afghanistan. As dual active duty, we had a family care plan for situations like deployments and training. However, I was not prepared for the challenges that would come with being a "solo parent" while active duty. During the last year of my service, my spouse was stationed 3,000 miles away. I became the sole custodian for our daughter. Upon my end of active service, I moved to the other side of the country to join my spouse and start a new life together. We welcomed our second child during this time. Like many Veterans, I faced many challenges in the form of loss of identity, financial instability, and mental health issues. During this time, my spouse was also dealing with PTSD and injuries he sustained in a mortar attack in Iraq, and our marriage suffered. Because we are Marines, we were both too stubborn to give up on each other. With the help of therapy and friends, we made it out on the other side. My spouse applied for an Enlisted to Officer commissioning program, and we used our GI Bill to attend college together at Texas A&M. Since graduating, I have been able to leverage my unique life experiences to mold myself into my own person. Although I am a proud Marine spouse, I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to find my own identity outside of the military that compliments my husband's career. I truly believe that finding my purpose and identity outside of my "spouse's bubble" has made me a better wife, mother, and friend to those around me.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
In 2018, I applied to be an advisory board member for the Military Family Advisory Network and was selected. I was 1 of 2 advisory board members that was selected to serve a second term. I was able to use my personal experiences and connections within the military to be a voice for USMC families, women service members, and women Veterans. During MFAN's 2023 Solutions Summit in Washington D.C., I was invited to sit on a panel to talk about how PCSing, housing shortages, and cost of living was negatively impacting military families (in include my own). I was able to use my personal experiences to convey to leaders and change makers within the military community the real struggles military families were facing. I had an integral voice in advocating for base housing, pay increases, transition, and food insecurity. I received the President's Silver Volunteer Service Award for my time with MFAN with over 445 hours of volunteer work.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
In 2022, I applied and was selected to serve on the Military Officers Association of America's (MOAA) Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council (CSSAC). I am serving a second term on this board, and have had the opportunity to collaborate with fellow military spouses and active duty military officers on the issues of Tricare, retention, recruiting, and culture within the military. I know that by sharing my own family's experiences in spaces like CSSAC, organizations like MOAA can have leverage to advocate for change amongst leaders on Capitol Hill. I am most proud of being able to bring my voice to the "Officer's table" as an Enlisted Marine and the wife of a prior Enlisted Marine. With the Enlisted population vastly outnumbering the Officer population, I think it is important that I use my voice in these spaces. I am a true believer that our voices are the most powerful when it comes to pushing for change.

Describe how you support your community:
I am a content creator and influencer on social media where I routinely share about military life in general. My platform has given me an incredible space to create community with fellow veterans and military families. Through social media, we have been able to raise thousands of dollars to support Gold Star families. With the money we have raised, our small business, Bell's Old Glory Shop, has been able to provide free shadowboxes for Gold Star families. I am most proud of the dialogue we have started on social media surrounding mental health within the military community. In my professional life, I work on the VA's largest official mental health awareness campaign, Make the Connection. Through this work, I have had the unique opportunity in having a part in bringing the stories of Veteran mental health and recovery to life through short documentary style segments.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I am a big advocate for mental health. While working on the Make the Connection campaign, I've had the unique opportunity to hear the very candid and vulnerable stories of Veterans across our country. Out of the hundreds of Veterans that I have encountered while working on this campaign, I have learned that we all have one thing in common when it comes to mental health--we just want community with likeminded people. All the Veterans that participate in Make the Connection have found healing through therapy. Because of that, I am very encouraged by the stories of mental health recovery. I think it is important that people with a platform continue to speak openly and candidly about mental health and normalize the conversations surrounding it, and encouraging others to seek help.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have written a blog post for the Military Family Advisory Network. I wrote a post for Women's History Month where I candidly shared my own mental health journey. My spouse and I have openly shared about our personal mental health stories on several podcasts--most notable "Committed" on iHeartradio. I have also amassed 155,000 followers on Tiktok where I've been incredibly lucky to have a community that (for some reason) wants to listen to me talk about my life as a Veteran an military spouse. Lastly, through my job, I routinely do outreach to over 200 organizations (both big and small) within the military community to share content about veteran mental health. I have been able to partner with organizations like the Defense Commissary Agency, The Green Beret Foundation, and the Marine Corps League (to name a few) in promoting Veteran Mental Health through Make the Connection.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
As someone who is already a part of the MSOY family (2020 MCAS Yuma MSOY), my hope is that I can use my platform to continue networking with the amazing community of MSOYs to advocate for military families and the causes I am passionate about. I am a strong believer that "there is always room for improvement". I would love to use this title and platform to speak more openly about Veteran mental health and recovery. And while change can be painstakingly long sometimes, I think military spouses are a small but mighty population within our great nation to continue to push the needle in the right direction.


The amount of work she does for veterans and posts to help military families is amazing. She is very passionate about service, is a Marine, a mother, military spouse and more. No one deserves the honor more than her.
- by Philip Linscott

Hana is a wonderful representation of what being a supportive spouse is all about. She is the rock upon which her family relies on and is a loving and caring wife to Nick Romer. She selflessly goes out of her way for strangers and friends alike and is always willing to improve their lives with either a a honest conversation or just a warm hug. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this prestigious award as she has tirelessly worked so hard to help others. I know if she is awarded she will continue on her journey of giving voices to the voiceless and continue building the path for those outside of military circles to understanding our uniformed brothers and sisters.
- by Jonathan Quintana

Hana Romer is a Marine combat veterans and served for 10 years. After she left the Marine Corps she struggled with her identity and began to redefine herself. In 2014 she served on the advisory board for Military Family Advisory Network for two terms and helped identify areas for improvement in the lives of military families. This helped identify areas of improvement concerning specific pay shortages and food insecurity just to name a few. She now serves as a board member for the Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Counsel for the Military Officers Association Of America where she continues to make a difference. Hana’s passion for helping military families and veterans didn’t stop with her volunteer positions. She is the Senior Director for Outreach and Recruiting for Ground Truth Consulting. Hana has used her social media platform to extend her outreach and she is the voice of the military community, woman veterans and service members, military children, and dual active duty families
- by Nicholas m roler

Hana Romer, a Marine Corps vet herself, knows what it means to be a military spouse and is the biggest advocate for the military community. Hana uses her vast network to bring attention to veterans needs and advocates on their behalf. She is relentless in this journey as she travels all across the nation while still maintaining a strong household of two children and an active duty Marine. Hana is truly one of a kind and of deserving of this recognition.
- by Dwayne Saunders