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Carmen Jones

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Fort-Richardson

Number of Deployments: 3

Number of PCS's: 3

About the nominee: I am a SAHM to 3 kiddos (12, 4, 2). I originally hail from Florida, but we are currently stationed in Alaska. I love to volunteer and help in the community whenever I am able. I am active in PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel), FRG Leader for my husband's Troop, and transporter of children to extra curricular activities. I am also a Beachbody Coach and very much enjoy helping people reach their health and fitness goals. I am also on the board of The Meagan Napier Foundation, a 501 (c)3 with the mission of bringing awareness of the dangers of DUI to audiences across the country via speaking engagements. I am also involved with Richardson Spouse's Club, PWOC Executive Board 2015-16, and PWOC Retreat Planning Committee 2016 and 2017.

Hobbies: I love DIY projects/crafting, running (well, if I'm honest, I love when the run is done), entertaining, hiking, camping, and soaking up as much time as possible with my family.

Interesting Facts: I am an identical twin (although she was killed in a DUI crash almost 15 years ago).

What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? I actually have a running list of "lessons learned in the military" in my phone, but two things that have really stuck out over the years are: 1. It is VERY important to find yourself a "battle buddy" early on (or even at each duty station) and 2. Always carry a POA...even if your spouse is not currently deployed (it will make life as a spouse a whole lot simpler).

In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? There are so many important issues, and my version will most likely be different from others. Deployments are obviously one of, if not THE, highest stressor on a military family. And most active duty soldiers who have been deployed experience some degree of PTSD. Both important and significant issues that families are dealing with everyday. I think that the amount of alcohol related issues within the military is disturbing, but I also know first hand that alcohol is a never-ending battle in itself. For our family, one thing we discuss, almost daily, is what life after the military will look like. Currently, I do not work, and my husband intends on staying in for (at least) 20 years. But, as we all know, in this life, especially a military directed life, you just never know what to expect. Some of our questions include: Will the benefits received be enough to sustain us and our family? If my husband has to pursue a job outside of being Active Duty, will he be equipped to be successful working in the civilian world? How difficult will it be to get a job with comparable pay/benefits? What will his self image and mental worth look like? What if I have to seek gainful employment to support my family after so many years being unemployed? I know there are resources available to help the transition from soldier to civilian, but why aren't they utilized to their max potential? I know you said to list one, I apologize :)

What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? The network you create by meeting so many new and amazing people from all over the world. Which I also think can be very helpful in securing a job after the military (if necessary). And travel (I just cant stick to the ONE thing rule. oops)

What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? At this season in my life, stability for my kids is very high on my priority list. I was not raised in a military family, so my frame of reference is limited to what I have learned since my husband joined in 2009. There are a vast number of military spouses across the world that have more experience and knowledge than I do about how to navigate this life with success and raise healthy, happy, resilient, loving, humans along the way. I pray that I have the opportunity to work with and learn from them and that perhaps this title would help me to accomplish that goal. Also, to develop or improve upon the direction we take welcoming the kids arriving at new installations, to include, but not limited to, the ever growing list of "pointers for parents" and how to keep their focus on the family. Ultimately, after the military, family is what we will have left.

Reasons for nominating:

Carmen is an amazing person! She truly goes above and beyond in all that she does. She brings a smile to all she does and is a wonderful wife and mother! She supports her soldier and has been a wonderful resource to soldiers, spouses and family. She is an amazing FRG Leader, participates in volunteer activities, is a true friend and has made my transition into life as a military spouse so smooth. It was truly a blessing to be a part of the FRG she led, I always look forward to the events I see her at and am more than thankful for her friendship. -- Sarah Peterson, Friend

Carmen is an amazing person! She truly goes above and beyond in all that she does. She brings a smile to all she does and is a wonderful wife and mother! She supports her soldier and has been a wonderful resource to soldiers, spouses and family. She is an amazing FRG Leader, participates in volunteer activities, is a true friend and has made my transition into life as a military spouse so smooth. It was truly a blessing to be a part of the FRG she led, I always look forward to the events I see her at and am more than thankful for her friendship. -- Sarah Peterson, Friend

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