Leigh Ellen Ingram

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall

Number of Deployments: 4

Number of PCS's: 10

Share your military spouse story:
My journey as a military spouse for over 23 years is a privilege filled with excitement, challenges, and enrichment. Our adventure together began when my spouse entered active-duty service in June 2001. Being from a military family and now being a part of a growing military community, I counted ourselves blessed to have some insight into what military life had in store for us. While my husband was away for his initial training, I was preparing our home to proceed to our first duty station of Okinawa, Japan. During this time, my expectations were put to a test. While watching the events of September 11 unfold before my eyes, my heart sank to my feet. I immediately knew all that I envisioned for this military life would be transformed. I was willing to forge forward with gusto even though the context had changed. To this day, my expectations are still being challenged based on who I am and how I can support fits within our military culture and our combined military and civilian communities. Through the years, we lived in various U.S. states, three overseas duty stations, and multiple deployments. With each relocation, I have made it a personal goal to embrace the motto “bloom where I’m planted”. Each move presented new opportunities, inspiring me to build lasting relationships, and to immerse myself within our local communities. At our first duty station, I realized that getting involved in my military and local communities would strengthen my resilience and my sense of purpose. It is a true honor to be a partner in service to our nation and complementing my husband’s commitment to the Army.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I am professionally certified in multiple curriculums within the Army’s Building Strong and Ready Teams (BSRT) program to facilitate retreats and workshops for military Service members, couples, and families. I co-founded a program for deployed spouses focusing on life-skills to foster relational resilience to include concepts of redeployment and reintegration. Facilitating a prevention focused and resiliency program enabled me to contribute significantly to the personal development of civilian staffers as they encountered immense stress during a downsizing transition from a military hospital to a super clinic. During a deployment, I served as the military liaison and coordinator between the deployed command and a local church who created a self-care and recreation event for deployed spouses and their children. At another duty station, I was honored with the Department of the Army Public Service Award for serving as Advisor to a command’s Soldier Family Readiness Steering Committee.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
My community involvement consists of assisting command teams, spouse groups, and chapel communities using administration & event planning skills and professional certifications to connect, volunteer, and support others. I served as BSRT Facilitator, Garrison RSO Events Coordinator, SFRG Steering Committee Advisor & Treasurer, Care Team Member, Community & Workforce Engagement Coordinator, USMC Key Volunteer, & Personnel Manager for Marine Gift Shop (MOSCO) Okinawa. I served as host & active member in Army Chaplain Spouses Coffee of the National Capitol Region & previous duty stations. I served as Army Spouses Club of the Greater Washington Area Secretary & Chaplain CCC Small Group Spouses Leader. I was a member of Fort Riley Spouses Club, Sembawang Spouses Club, Marine Officer Spouses Club, & Okinawa International Women’s Club. My chapel roles: teacher, Praise & Worship for Protestant Women of the Chapel board position, music director, hospitality coordinator, & outreach planner.

Describe how you support your community:
Getting involved and connecting with people has been a primary support to me and the communities I serve. I have endeavored to create welcoming and inclusive environments within community programs and groups with a goal to inspire others to be connected and involved. I understand the challenges of being a new military spouse and have strived to make inclusion a priority. Whether it’s through my work with the chapel community or in broader military spouse groups, I want to ensure that everyone feels valued and to have a meaningful voice. My support extends beyond just welcoming new members. It’s about nurturing lasting relationships and providing resources and guidance to inspire others to get involved at their comfort levels within our communities.

What do you advocate for? Why?
My platform is for Service member, spouse, veterans, and family member involvement and connection that directly addresses the issue of isolation and the impact it has on the individual resilience and the communities in which we serve and live. We all know that there are multiple resources, initiatives, programs, and social opportunities to assist and enhance our unique lifestyles. The level and type of involvement is different for each person based upon individual and family responsibilities and other commitments. I have witnessed how active community engagement can make a positive difference in the morale, resiliency, contentment, and attitude of our service members and spouses. This difference impacts the morale and resilience of their individual households as it affects factors for retention and recruitment within the armed forces. My advocacy aims to strengthen community member engagement through connections for more significant outcomes and stability through their transitions.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
My message is spread through direct involvement in programs and initiatives at various duty stations, as well as through leadership roles in chapel and community groups. I actively share insights and resources in our community gatherings, workshops, and through one-on-one support. My approach is personable and hands-on, ensuring that the message is not only heard but also felt and implemented in day-to-day life. My goal is to inspire others to be intentional and proactive to connect not only through social media platforms, but in-person at some level within our communities.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
If selected, this title would be an honor in my journey as a military spouse. It would serve to expand my reach and impact to our military, veteran, and civilian communities for the Service members, spouses, veterans, and their families. Programs and initiatives can be developed and implemented, but what incentives or obstacles have been factors to encourage or inhibit involvement and personal interactions (relationships) that could make a difference in someone’s journey? This title would present opportunities to collaborate, explore, and evaluate this underlying dynamic of remoteness and isolation. With the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title and its resources, I would be excited to work together with the broader communities to find a collaborative solution!


Leigh Ingram exemplifies her passion to build community through volunteerism and leadership, significantly contributing to the JBM-HH community, the RSO, and NCR spouse organizations. A key member of the Protestant Service, she utilizes organizational skill to lead music and hospitality programs. She fosters fellowship and networking opportunities by organizing community luncheons and involvement in the annual RSO’s community dinners. In the 2023 National Military Easter Sunrise Service, Leigh excelled in coordinating performers and volunteers as the lead music liaison. She supports religious ministry and community engagement through the NCR Chaplain Spouses Group. As Secretary for the Army Spouses Club of the Greater Washington Area, Leigh's optimism, joy, and authenticity inspires others to participate and connect. As a positive leader, she influences and strategically enhances community strength. With 200+ volunteer hours, Leigh's dedication and impact make her a deserving nominee.
- by Carla Moss