Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Once a year, on May 12th, the country recognizes the strength and resiliency of those who stand beside their service members on Military Spouse Appreciation Day.    Today, I wanted to share a look back at a few of the military spouses who have made me who I am today.

2/23 IN, 4/2 ID Military Spouses & FRG Leaders at Fort Lewis

When I became a military spouse in 2007, I would have never believed that I would be where I am today… let alone be here because of the military spouses that were in my life.   Because my husband joined the military later in his life, I was older than most other spouses at the same rank as my husband so I naturally gravitated to toward the spouses of the senior enlisted and officers.

Women like Tara Rousch, wife of C Co, 2/23IN Commander, Amanda Houston,  wife and FRG Leader in B Co, 2/23 IN, Morri Landes, wife of LTC  Landes and Senior Adviser to the FRG and Tricia Lawrence, wife of LTC Lawrence and Senior Adviser to the FRG.   These women showed me how a group of spouses, women, can come together to support those around us and to be strong for our soldiers at war.

It was their leadership, grace, and resiliency that showed me the type of military spouse I wanted to be.    It was because of their leadership that I became an FRG Leader for my husband’s units at all of his duty stations.  It was because of their example that I knew I had something great to model and to live up to.

After our 2nd deployment to Iraq together… some of those same senior military spouses that lead me to lead were standing beside me as we were presented with the Commanders Award for Civilian Service.  One of my most proud moments as a military spouse.

I am so incredibly thankful to Tara, Amanda, Morri and Tricia for being a shining example of excellence in the military spouse community.

As soon as we moved to Germany, I knew I wanted to be involved in the community.   I reached out to the command of my husband’s unit and inquired about being involved.

And I met my Chrissy.   Although I met many amazing women and military spouses at Fort Lewis, it wasn’t until I came to Germany that I truly found out what it meant to be a military spouse.

We were quick friends, best friends, like-sisters-friends.  Chrissy became my family away from my family.  I think back on all the things we went though together and my life is better for having Chrissy in it.  Chrissy is unconditionally loving, kind, and supportive.

Chrissy guided me as the FRG Leader for the Rear Detachment as her husband and the rest of TF 1/2 IN, 172nd IN BDE went to Afghanistan.   She held it together during that deployment with such integrity and grit.  I’m proud to know you, Chrissy and I can’t wait until we can live on the same side of the USA again!!!

My time in Germany also brought me Doris, Christy (again!), Sarah, Susan, Amanda, Rachel, Sarah, Allison and Margot.   Neighbors, friends, and now family for ever.

And then there are these women…

Mareile.

Lizzie.

These women were my rocks.  My safe place.  My unconditional love, support, and shoulders to cry on.  I spent more time with Lizzie and Mareile than I did with my husband at times.

Both of you… Mareile and Lizzie – you are my best friends.  My sisters.   We share a common bond of being military spouses together – but we will always be more than that.

You have both have been with me in my lowest, most trying times as a military spouse.  Even before I knew what I was doing was called being a Caregiver.  You held me up.  You supported me… my children.  You listed.  Let me cry.  Gave me advice.  You saved me.

There are no words that can express the depth of my gratitude to you.   I will forever be thankful for your friendship.

Moving back to the USA knowing that we were transitioning out of the military, I wasn’t sure what kind of friends I would make here.

However, one of the first spouses I met during my time in the Dog Tag Fellowship program has turned in to one of my best friends.

Megan and I were both married to soldiers transitioning out of the military at the same time.  Our love of fashion, yoga, and coffee made us quick friends and our experiences together made us best friends.   Megan is my friend unconditionally and my life is richer for being around her kindness and southern charm.  You make me a better woman, Megan.

And Gina… oh sassy, sweet, Sicilian Gina.

Gina’s example of what it looks like to be a spouse of a wounded warrior is truly inspiring.  She has shown me what true strength in the face of adversity looks like and how amazing it can be on the other side.

THANK YOU Gina for giving me an opportunity at Yellow Ribbon Fund.  THANK YOU Gina for pushing me to be better and to be more for our community.

Military Spouse Caregivers are some of the strongest women I know.

They have the strength and resiliency unlike any other military spouse.  Their dedication to their wounded, ill or injured service member is unparalleled. It is my privilege to know them, learn from them, and be inspired by them.

Ramona… Oh Ramona.

This friendship with Ramona had a slow start.   Ramona is not only a military spouse, but she is prior service as well serving 17 years in the Army.

Ramona, your friendship always surprises me and lifts me up when I’m least expecting it.

Thank you for being you and thank you for being in my life.

I didn’t know Jen when she was an active duty military spouse, but that doesn’t make me any less appreciative of her today.

Jen has become my mentor.  She may not realize it, but I look up to her for entrepreneurial  and business guidance more than any other military spouse in my life.  Jen has taught me so much about what it means to be a military spouse in DC and how to become the best business women I can offering me advice, resources, and connections.

Jen McNulty is one bad-ass lady and I wouldn’t be as successful as I am with my career without her and for that I am eternally thankful!

Finally, to the most recently military spouse and friend I have here in DC… Cassaundra.  Cassaundra is a Fellow in the current Dog Tag Fellowship cohort, the current Army Military Spouse of the Year and is an all-around rock star military spouse.  Just being around her is inspiring!  Although our journey as military spouses has just begun, I am inspired being around her and I know we are going to do great things together in DC for the military community!

I could really go on and on and on about every spouse that has touched my life… I know there are more.  However these women are those that truly stand out to me as I look back on my life.  They have shaped, guided, and loved me into the woman, leader, and military spouse I am today.

So thank you.  Thanks to ALL of the military spouses who have touched my life.  From the bottom of my heart… THANK YOU for all you have done for me.

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