Kathryn Weaver

Branch: Navy

Duty Station: Fort Meade

Number of Deployments: 4

Number of PCS's: 4

Share your military spouse story:
I'm a mom of 2 medically complex children. And a proud wife of almost 9 years. My military spouse story starts 12 years ago, back in high school! It was Freshman year when we met. I remember days of him walking me to class, us having lunch in the cafeteria and staying after school to get to know eachother a little more. As teenagers, we dreamed about our future. Talked about dreams of traveling the world, starting a family and his big dream of following in his grandfather footsteps and joining the Navy. At just 16, the thought of him enlisting made me nervous, but all I could do was stand at his side and support him. 2 months after highschool graduation, he left for boot camp. That year, he came home for Christmas. Just 7 months after graduating high school, he proposed at one of my favorite spots in our home town. 6 days later, we married eachother in front of our family and a local justice of the peace! He then flew out to his duty station for the next 1.5 years, while I finished college in our home state. We reunited and moved out to San Diego where he deployed for the first time. After an 8 month deployment, he returned home and we were blessed with our daughter. We spent time in California, and then moved to Japan. Despite my husband deploying 3 times over the course of our 2 years in Japan, we made some of our favorite memories there. After 2 miscarriages and 18 months of infertility, we were blessed with the pregnancy of our son. We soon would PCS to Italy! Those were some of our hardest days. We almost lost our son and myself during childbirth and both our children's health issues got much worse. We dealt with new diagnoses for each child who were soon enrolled in EFMP, MedEvac's back to America for them, and finally a Compassionate Reassignment due to our children's extensive health issues, to Maryland. We've been so lucky to recieve such wonderful care at Walter Reed where we're happy to say our children's health has stabilized and our family is thriving!

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
At our current base, I've reignited the EFMP Family Resource Group and taken over as Administrator since it went dormant after previous leadership PCS'd. I've used that platform to initiate the creation of an EFMP Sensory Playgroup with help of FAP for our bases special needs and medically complex children which is now endorsed by EFMP, FAP & MWR. I've since pioneered the creation and foundation of an Auxiliary Booster Organization to fund events and resource opportunities for local EFMP families throughout the community along side our local EFMP. I do all of this as a volunteer of EFMP and continue to offer my time and help. I have also initiated the foundation of my husband's ship's FRG group while he was deployed to serve the fellow families of deployed service members. I've founded 5 other groups for bases including exploration groups, resource groups and community building groups. I've also initiated and taught ASL teaching classes for military families as an FFSC volunteer.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
My involvement in my community has been widespread at each base I've lived. I've spent much of my time at various bases volunteering with different organizations including EFMP, FFSC, USO, MWR to name a few. I've been able to use my involvement with these organizations to help plan community events, foster togetherness, educate, teach and inform others. I've planned pot lucks, family outings, paint nights, community bible studies, classes and more. While I spend a lot of time on the logistical side of planning, I am also found at all the events I've helped plan, connecting with the families I aim to serve. I've planned and hosted many spouse gatherings especially during my husbands deployments to make sure the other spouses and families feel connected and supported. As well as planning events, I strive to attend many community events around base to connect with other families and to give my children the opportunity to form connections with other children around the community as well.

Describe how you support your community:
I aim to support my community through advocacy, education and resource informing. If I have learned anything as a mom of 2 medically complex & special needs children, it's that self advocacy and self education are 2 of the most beneficial tools you can equip yourself with. And since a lot of my volunteer work is aimed toward EFMP families, I use my platform to teach them how to advocate for themselves and educate themselves on their rights in a medical and educational setting. I have noticed a lot of EFMP families are unaware of the resources available to them through EFMP and local and government support. I try to educate these families on the navagation, rights, updates, benefits and understanding of topics including EFMP, ADA, IEPs, 504s, IFSPs, Tricare, ECHO, enrollment information, policy changes, utilizing allotments and ordering through DME suppliers. It's important to me to make sure families like ours are equipped with the best knowledge and resources to care for their family.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I am passionate about advocating for the voices of EFMP families to be heard and accommodated. Its so important as an EFMP family myself, in making sure the needs are being met, voices are being heard, accomodations are being made, changes are being made and community is being fostered. Life as a family navigating medical or developmental diagnosis can feel lonely, confusing and hopeless, I can speak on first hand. So I devote myself to advocating for the families like ours to make sure they're heard and supported & their needs are met. On a more personal side, I also advocate for the acceptance, understanding and education of my children's diagnoses. Autism, Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus, VACTERL, Anaphylactic allergies, Galactosemia, HIE, Growth Restriction and more. These are all things that my children face daily or have traversed through in their lives that I am passionate about brining light to and education about. Both personally and globally, I am passionate about advocacy!

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I use social media for a large portion of my advocacy and community outreach. I've created many platforms throughout social media ammasing thousands of followers throughout each group platform to be able to spread information, inform of events or important information pertaining to EFMP families and base happenings. I also have planned many in person events for families in which I've used to publicly speak in person about my missions and advocacy for the community. I'm currently in the works of meeting with base leadership to further advocacy for the local EFMP families needs and to hopefully help secure ways of advertising resources, benefits and information to a larger population of the base through social media and visual advertising throughout base.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
As honored as I would be to recieve this title, my work would only just begin to blossom if I recieve this title. I hope that if I win this honorable title, I can use this to shine a spot light on the work I have been doing here in the community in hopes of catching the attention of families in our local area that could greatly benefit from the work I am doing for their families. I also hope that in shining a spot light, it will help in bringing in more funding opportunities through the Auxiliary Booster Organization in the wake of a lack of funding, so I am able to plan more community outreach events and resource fairs.


Kathryn is a Navy wife of 8 years, mom of 2 EFMP medically complex/special needs children. She is an avid advocate for her children and community. Within weeks of arriving at Ft. Meade, Kathryn reignited an EFMP family resource group, and took over as Administrator for the group. She's been able educate, councel and inform families through this platform. She has been able to help councel families on topics including EFMP, ECHO, DME ordering, IEP, IFSP, 504, Enrollment, policy changes, PCSing with EFMP and more. She has counceled many families in advocating for their EFMP members needs. In the same month, she initiated a EFMP Sensory Friendly/Special Needs Playgroup for DMV area EFMP families that is MWR, FAP & EFMP Endorsed. She is spearheading the foundation of an Auxiliary Booster Organization as the founder and president to focus on working to fund events and resources for the EFMP community in wake of a lack of funding. Kathryn continues to be a strong asset to her community.
- by Austin Carrigg