Cassaundra Melgar-C’De Baca

Branch: National-Guard

Duty Station: Texas

Number of Deployments: 5 for Spouse- my first as the Spouse

Number of PCS's: N/A

About the nominee: I am an Army Brat. Air Force Veteran and Army National Guard Spouse.

Hobbies: movies (excuse to eat movie popcorn :), reading, anything craft-worthy- I am a Pinterest wanna-be type!

Interesting Facts: I was supposed to fail 7th grade sewing, I only passed because my sister babysat for the teacher- that led to 40 yrs in the sewing desert for me :(.... But I took a sewing class this summer, as a way to fill some of the time during this long deployment and now I will stay up all night long, sewing away.....from a previously not at all domestic type- to sewing.... deployments have a funny way of helping us to find new things about ourselves.

What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? I have learned that even though I have spent my whole life in the realm of the Military- the spouse role is unique and although it is sometimes difficult- it is the BEST!. I have learned that regardless of the trials and sacrifices, that being a Military Spouse is a badge of honor to be worn with pride. I have also learned that the civilian world doesn't always understand the life of a Military Spouse or Family and that I have a unique opportunity to help them understand and be involved/supportive- both through employment resources and community support.

In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? Employment and Resiliency. These two are not mutually independent, in my eyes.

What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? One of the best things about being a Military family is the pride I feel- when I tell someone my wife is in the Military- I beam with pride. I think sometimes we get bogged down with the hard aspects that we forget how awesome it is to be in a family that serves our country- that provides for the freedoms that all Americans enjoy!

What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I would love to be able to do 2 things as a MSOY. 1: I would love to be able to work with companies in helping them to see the greater value of the Military Spouse. I would love to help them seek out and hire more Military Spouses- not because it it the "right thing to do", but because a Military Spouse brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that companies can benefit from. 2- I would love to work more on the family resiliency programs. I am a certified Master Resiliency Trainer for our state and I would love to see the program utilized more by the families- both the spouses as well as the children. I believe that when the whole family has more of the resiliency skills that are taught to the Soldiers- the family- and the National Guard- all WIN!

Reasons for nominating:

Cassaundra is the daughter of a career Army NCO. She spent her youth on Army installations around the world. She watched as her father donned the uniform with pride and determination. It is no wonder she had the desire to continue that legacy when she joined the US Air Force. -- LTC Alba Melgar-C'De Baca, Friend

Cassaundra is the daughter of a career Army NCO. She spent her youth on Army installations around the world. She watched as her father donned the uniform with pride and determination. It is no wonder she had the desire to continue that legacy when she joined the US Air Force. When she left active duty, that desire did not go quietly, and she spent a number of years post active duty as a member of the Texas Air National Guard. The Military afforded her the opportunity to pursue higher education and develop a highly successful career track. Fast forward another decade when she left the fast pace of building businesses and decided to start a non-profit organization dedicated to serving our Military and the Veterans of this great nation. it is no wonder that when I met this woman, I knew she had the courage of a lion and the heart of a lamb. Today, it is my honor to call her my wife. Cassaundra should be the National Guard spouse of the year. Her steadfast dedication to me and my career is indicative of the model of an Army Wife. She has set the bar high and provides a shining example for our young National Guard families. Her dedication to the families in our ranks continues to amaze me. Over the past couple of years she has managed to support me through multiple schools, Battalion Command and this current deployment for which I am serving. Not only does she support me- but she provides an abundance of support for the other members and families of the Texas Army National Guard. Through this deployment alone, she has helped our families through the trials and tribulations of this Military life- and the deployments that come along with the job. She has helped us all to remember that this is not just a duty- but an honor and a privilege- to serve our great state and this amazing nation in which we live. She has dropped everything to drive miles to find the perfect flowers to deliver to a wife of a fellow Soldier who is deployed with me- so that he could make his wife feel special on their 20th anniversary, even though he was 8000 miles away. She has stayed up nights with families as they suffered through family issues that plague us all...she reached into her rolodex an made sure that children with deployed parents got special gifts at Christmas. She has worked to coordinate with other spouses as well as others in her network to provide hundreds and hundreds of boxes of care packages to us while we have been deployed, as well as for other National Guard Soldiers in other deployment locations. When we were at the MOB platform, before we deployed, she would bring up boxes of snacks and coffee and anything else the Soldiers put on their "wish list". She worked tirelessly to ensure that their last days in the states, with their families, were joyful and meaningful. She even loaded her truck with bags and boxes of things the Soldiers would need once they returned, but couldn't take with them on the deployment. Today, she stands ready to load those things up and meet us when we return home, after nearly a year of being gone. At any point in time, day or night, I know that I can send her a msg about some Soldier in my unit regarding a need they or a member of their family have, and she will be on it- tirelessly working to ensure they are taken care of and have what they need. She does this without question and without reservation. A couple of weeks ago, Cassaundra lost her mother to cancer. I could not be by her side in that moment- 8000 miles seemed like another planet away, with no way to hold and comfort her. She went home to be with her family and as she spent time with them, she was still working with the family members of our deployed Soldiers to ensure that they had what they need to prepare for our homecoming. She never missed a msg or a call, she never turned everything else off...because to her, being a National Guard Army wife is who she is. She is an Army Brat, an Air Force Veteran with a double MBA, a successful business woman, she was named Champion of Change by the White House, awarded RISE Global's Social Entrepreneur of the Year......and yet if you see her jumping out of her truck with a bag of goodies for a family- she is wearing an Army Wife hoodie... the title she says she is most proud of..... Cassaundra should be the National Guard Spouse of the Year. Not just because she is so incredibly amazing (which she is) but because she continues to help us all to remember why it is we do what we do. HOOAH! -- LTC Alba Melgar-C'De Baca, Military-Spouse