Danielle C. Smith

Branch: Navy

Duty Station: Bangor-Naval-Base-Kitsap

Number of Deployments: 13

Number of PCS's: 8

About the nominee: I am a proud Mom of two girls and wife of a Submariner. I grew up in a small town on Long Island. I graduated high school and moved to upstate New York where I attended the University of Buffalo. I have a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and after graduating; began my career in the field of Social Service. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to pursue as a career but I knew without a doubt that it would involve helping others. After meeting my husband and becoming a military spouse, I cannot imagine giving my time, talent and energy to a greater cause than the support of military spouses. After our first child was born, I took time away from work to stay at home. During this time, I was introduced to the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, an organization that is near and dear to my heart. Joining as a volunteer caseworker in 2008 gave me the opportunity to be apart of something greater, while still serving the needs of the military community.

Hobbies: My hobbies are traveling, bowling, volunteering, and writing.

Interesting Facts: While a student at the University of Buffalo, a group of friends and I were looking for a way to be involved. While attending our school's basketball and football games, we noticed that something was missing during the halftime portion of the games. We decided that we would fill that void. We created and submitted a mission statement, by laws, and a sample of our routine to our Student Affairs representative and was subsequently approved to formed the UB Step Troupe. I am proud to be a founding member and to see that the group is still going strong today. As a young person, looking to discover who you are, and where you fit in; it is nice to know that we created a club that gave others the opportunity to express themselves in the form of dance and to share that talent with the rest of the student body.

What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? The one thing I have learned from being a military spouse is that you are stronger than you believe you are.

In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? One of the most important issues facing military families specifically the military spouse is dealing with the absence of the military member and utilizing the resources available to support the families during that time. During my time as a military spouse, I feel as if there has been a shift in participation in the various Family Groups that are intended to provide support and encouragement to spouses and family members during a military member's extended absence. In a time where social media reigns, you can interact with people from the comfort of your own home but nothing takes the place of human kindness and interaction for the entire family. It is so important to find a supportive group to become apart of with people who may be dealing with similar challenges and can offer guidance and support. No one should have to deal with these challenges alone. I would love to see a resurgence of the Family Support groups as a means of staying connected to other command families.

What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? One of the best aspects of being in a military family is the opportunity to live in different areas of the country and meet and interact with people from all walks of life. This is an opportunity that isn't afforded to most and I feel so blessed that my family and I get to have this wonderful, and fulfilling experience.

What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? One thing I would like to accomplish as the Military Spouse of the Year is working to reenergize and promote our Family Support Groups. I would love to get spouses excited about being a part of something greater than themselves. We are a large, diverse group of educated, talented, thoughtful and inspiring spouses who have much to contribute. Perhaps in a welcoming, and inclusive environment we can encourage our spouses to leave the comfort of their home and share themselves with those around them in a more real and substantive way.

Reasons for nominating:

Danielle is the embodiment of kindness and strength. I have never seen her without a smile on her face. She is always encouraging to others and helps to empower military spouses all around her. She actively participates to strengthen the support for spouses through the commands Family Readiness Group (FRG). She never puts herself above others. She is strong and resillient. I can't imagine that being a spouse of an officer is easy, but Danielle does it with such grace and humility that she makes it look flawless. She is a mother, a military spouse and a friend, but most important she is a bright light. She is an inspiration and for these reasons I believe she should be named the military spouse of the year! -- Julia Brady, Friend