Laurie Beeler

Branch: Navy

Duty Station: Naval Base San Diego

Number of Deployments: 6

Number of PCS's: 6

Share your military spouse story:
I grew up in Yuma, AZ, where MCAS Yuma was just section of the city I never went with people I never interacted with. I had no immediate military affiliation. My senior year of high school, I met the new "military kid" in my senior government class and that was it. We started dating months later, engaged by that November, boot camp the following June then married in December. Nineteen "short" years later- a kid, 6 duty stations, 6 deployments, and a whole lot of life has happened. While I have not had the most difficult experiences as a military spouse, I have absolutely had moments in my life that have made me who I am, causing me to passionate about helping other spouses and families. When my husband deployed the very first time, I was the spouse who refused to stay alone and I moved home. We gave up military housing, put stuff in storage, and I went back to my safe little bubble-unaware of all that this military spouse life had to offer. But I was absolutely miserable. I was around people who loved me, and were there to support me, but I did not have anyone who knew what I was going through with the deployment struggles, I was not involved in any of the half way parties or almost home brunch or any of the command/FRG sponsored events, and most of the time, I had no idea what was going on. His second deployment on the same ship was a complete change. I stayed in the city we were stationed, got involved with a church, got to know a few of my neighbors, and most importantly at the time, got involved with FRG. People who knew what I was going through on the deployment level. People who knew the struggles and could provide insight into what the next 15 years of my life would look like. Fifteen years later, I now thoroughly enjoy being involved. I am a mom to an amazing middle schooler, a full time employee at a local school with 98% military kids, a cheer coach, a "Top School" Safety Patrol Coordinator, and a military spouse-motivated to inspire others!

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Since that second deployment, I decided to get involved, I have taken on several leadership roles within the military spouse community. As Family Readiness Group (FRG) President, I was able to support families during deployment by planning half way parties, holiday get togethers, and homecoming celebrations. As the first ombudsman in a few years for a Destroyer Squadron, I worked with the command triad to reorganize the program and update methods of organization and communication, advocating for having a line of communication from the families to the ombudsman and command. My favorite leadership role I have been part of was a joint command in Washington, D.C. This command has members of all branches of service. Due to the nature of the command leadership, the command often changed from an Army command to an Air Force command. Myself, about 6 other spouses, and command leadership worked to develop a spouse support program that would incorporate all branches collectively.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I am incredibly lucky to have a job where I get to directly engage with military families on a daily basis. It allows me to share the knowledge I have gained over the last 19 years and support their needs. As the enrollment clerk at a predominantly military school, I have made it my mission to educated the staff on the struggles and experiences of military connected families and offer supporting resources to teachers, staff, and families. I have attended the MCEC military training summit, allowing me to bring updated resources to my community while promoting shared leadership in regards to supporting military families. I had the privilege to attend a Women in Leadership conference recognizing a non-profit that supports the transition from active duty to retirement. I also love going to military spouse events! It absolutely feeds my soul! I love meeting new people and finding new ideas to take back to the community I have built.

Describe how you support your community:
I am the enrollment specialist at a public schools located in military housing in San Diego. I get to welcome families to the neighborhood, support them in getting their children started in school, and encourage them to engage in all that our community has to offer. I joined the PTF to bridge the gap between the school and the parents. I also donate my time as Safety Patrol Lead to build leadership skills, teamwork, and a sense of belonging with our 5th graders. I take pride in the fact that I have more to offer our families as a military spouse myself. I often share that my husband is active duty and it eases their mind a bit. They realize that though everyone's journey is different, I speak from experience when talking about moves and the hardships that can come with. It is important to me to be purposeful and intentional about providing resources that meet them where they are, including PCS how-to guides, deployment binders, and Exceptional Family Member support information.

What do you advocate for? Why?
My primary focus is to ensure that although our families are only here anywhere from 3 months to 5 years, they feel a sense of belonging and representation. My purpose is to open doors of opportunity to other military spouses in my community. My community is located away from all of the local military installations in one of the largest military populated areas in the world. While this is empowering, this can also cause intimidation and lack of representation when it comes to support and advocacy. It is important that I become a helping hand in the distance that provides support and care for those who are recently enlisted, or navigating this experience for the first time. I advocate for opportunity and support.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Since my passion and purpose are centered around military families that I come in contact with at my school, most of my message efforts have revolved around finding new ways to bring awareness and support. Recently, we went through the process of becoming a Purple Star School, gaining national recognition for taking extra steps to support military connected students. Last year, our school was named a “community school” and given extra funding to support our community. As a founding member of the Community Schools board, I have been able to find resources that will help our families. In the beginning process of community schools, we did a data grab from our families with an 84% survey return. This provided information on what our families need that we can provide a resource or support for. I have also partnered with my Community School Coordinator to create a resource room at our school that streamlines and can offer help in finding the right resource for families specific needs.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
My goal is simple-to make military families world wide feel important, loved, and seen. My hope as MSOY would be to continue to bring awareness to schools that support military connected students. As stated before, I live in San Diego, which houses one of the largest military populations in the world. Until very recently, most of our teachers did not even know what resources are available to our students and I know the district has limited supports in place as students move mid year. This is a problem, and if it is happening in one of the most military connected cities world wide, I can only imagine how isolated the families in small towns that support military bases must feel. My hope would be, at a national level, to encourage support for military connected schools to support military connected students.


Laurie Beeler has went above and beyond, all while her husband has been deployed. Laurie is a full-time working mom who works at the school district in San Diego doing all enrollments for the school and her team of safety patrol students won the top award in San Diego out of all schools. On top of her everyday job, she took on the role of coaching a group of five-year-old cheerleaders this year. She coached them through an entire football season and four competitions with one of those being out of state. Her husband has been deployed this entire time and she has managed to keep the house running and her job from suffering while keeping a smile on her face three times a week for two hours, teaching five-year-olds a cheer competition routine. She has the kindest heart and goes above and beyond for everybody she meets she is one of my favorite humans in the world and everyone that meets her agrees with that. I can’t imagine anyone more deserving of this award.
- by Erica Schnitkey

While it asks my relationship to Laurie and I’ve indicated Fellow Military Spouse, it should say family, because that’s how Laurie makes you feel- as if you’re apart of her family. Not only is Laurie an extremely supportive spouse, fantastic mother and a wealth of knowledge and experience for other military spouses, she’s truly the most amazing friend. Laurie played a massively important part in my ability to manage my daughter’s brain surgery in 2022 as her support was immeasurable. She never fails to check on her friends even if she’s dealing with her own worries and you’ll rarely see her without a smile or positive attitude. Laurie has helped countless families through her role at the school and also spends time coaching tiny human cheerleaders to be their best selves on and off the mat. To know Laurie is to love Laurie and I truly cannot imagine my world without her. I’m thankful to be a military spouse because I met Laurie. She deserves all of the recognition- and the world.
- by Emily whale