Duty Station: Scott-AFB
Number of Deployments: 2
Number of PCS's: 4
About the nominee: I am lucky enough to have my dream job at Airman & Family Readiness Center. I absolutely love serving my military community! Some of the things I get to do in my job includes training and advocating for the Key Spouses, organizing our Widow/Widower support meetings, coordinating PASS (Parents Advocate for Students and Schools) workshops, and hosting Heart Link (a fun orientation to military life for new spouses). When I am not at work, I am spending time with my family! I married my best friend 15 years ago and we have two marvelous daughters together. My husband and I are originally from Louisiana so that is where we call home. We love the military life and community and want to give back as much as possible.
Hobbies: I like to paint, read, and spend time with my friends and family.
Interesting Facts: Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in my family loves Disney World! Someone just has to mention the word Disney and we are already making plans and looking over our budget to see when we can take the next trip. We’ve had more family reunions in Disney World than anywhere else!
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? It is what it is, but it will become what you make of it. Throughout my time as a military spouse, there were things that arose that I didn’t have control over. I learned quickly that instead of sulking on what could have been, you have to look forward and see the possibilities that might derive from your situation. There are so many programs out there to help you along the way but you have to know about them. When I first became a military spouse, the first agency that I came into contact with was the Airman & Family Readiness Center. They had a wealth of information on most of my questions, and if they couldn’t answer a question, they knew where to send me.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? I work with a lot of service members and their families and there are many issues that come up. Outdated family roles and expectations, spouses not being able to get the careers they long for, families feeling financial strains, and parents worried about their children’s education are just some of the things that I see on a regular bases. If I had to narrow it down to one thing though, military families are worried most about how their pay and benefits will change in the future.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? The people that you meet and getting to explore other areas around the world. If you had asked me before I became a military spouse, if I would ever live in Germany, I would have said “no way, that’s too far from home”. However, looking back now, I have some of my best memories of, not just exploring Europe, but the friends we made there. They were like our second family and I can truly say the same for every base we have been stationed at.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I want to help make military families stronger! There are many programs out there that can help military families with the unique challenges that they face. Sometimes families do not realize the programs available to them and they needlessly struggle. That is not okay, we should be getting that information out to them. If the programs out there are not working for some military families, then I want to find out why and come up with a way to fill the gap. Military families and service members are too important and have done so much for this nation to just ignore their hardships.
Reasons for nominating:
I am writing on behalf of military spouse, Ms. Jessica Barattini to endorse her dedication to military families, exceptional professionalism, and her many accomplishments during our tenure in the Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC). I first met Jessica when she joined our team as a military spouse hire in 2015. From day one, Jessica distinguished herself as a self-starter with great leadership potential, and a natural ability to rise to any occasion. I highly recommend her for the Military Spouse of the Year award. Her skills have a significant role in Scott AFB’s fast paced, high operations tempo, showcase installation responsibilities, while also allowing the center to meet all mission requirements. Jessica is the Scott AFB Key Spouse Program Manager. Her success in this program comes from 100% of Scott AFB’s squadrons and partner units have an identified, trained Key Spouse embedded for family support. She serves as a conduit of support and resources that aid in the overall personal effectiveness of our service members and their families. Jessica is always the first staff member to take on new initiatives whether leading an initiative that prepares military family members for life in the Air Force. She is passionate about the ‘military family’ and has a goal to aid in the empowerment of our military families, as well as provide them with effective life strategies, coping skills, and family goals. She has been commended often by squadron commanders, customers and the A&FRC staff for her work ethic, creativity and willingness to support and also lead the team. Jessica has been instrumental in the execution of several high visibility ‘showcase’ events to include the, ‘Air Mobility Command New Commander’s Course’, hosted at Scott AFB and attended by newly appointed commanders and their spouse throughout the Air Mobility Command. Her leadership skills and commitment to service was reflected when she partnered with several other helping agencies organizations to deliver the course. In over 25 years of service, I have had the opportunity to work with countless Active Duty members, spouses, and civilians across all services. Without hesitation, I can say that Jessica is clearly among the best with which I have had the honor of working. She has my highest endorsement; investing in her as the 2017 Military Spouse of the Year will reap huge benefits well into the future. -- Lona Berndt, Colleague