Marissa-Ellen Patterson

Branch: Air-Force

Duty Station: Lakenheath-Royal-Air-Force-RAF

Number of Deployments: 2

Number of PCS's: 3

About the nominee: I was born in Belgium, raised an Army brat and have been an Air Force spouse coming up on 11 years. My husband Robert and I have two children, Charisma and Joel. I work at the Airman & Family Readiness Center and I truly love helping active duty, military families and veterans. Volunteerism was instilled in me at an early age when I used to volunteer with my mom at the USO. I am currently the President of the Liberty Spouses Association, Key Spouse for my husband's squadron, United Kingdom Area Rep & Global Outreach Coordinator for American's Working Around the Globe and was the Volunteer Chair for the annual Holiday Bazaar.

Hobbies: I live life to travel, eat amazing food and laugh with my friends and family. We've been fortunate enough to be able to spend the past 8 years living overseas, which has allowed us to travel a lot and experience many cultures.

Interesting Facts: I have a black belt in Shorin-Ryu

What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? Adaptability is what I've learned from being a military spouse and has made me better equipped to face any challenged that come my way. Often times things don't go as planned and you have to adapt to the circumstances and keep moving in a forward direction. I try to plan as best as possible, but having a back up plan and quickly rearranging things has become like second nature .

In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? I feel one of the most important issues facing military families right now is military spouse employment. Often times we have to reinvent ourselves each time we PCS in order to find employment. We've been stationed overseas and I've seen first hand how difficult it is for spouses to obtain jobs. There are employers stateside who don't want to invest time and money on military spouses due to the high probability of them PCS'ing within a few years.

What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? The best aspect of being a military family is the people you get to meet. It's so amazing to be stationed with people who come from all walks of life. If I had stayed in one place I would have never met some of the best people in my life- mentors, motivators, friends who I am blessed to call my military family. I've learned so much from the people I have been stationed with and I take a little of that to each place I go. I've learned how to be a better wife, mom, friend, leader and worker from those around me.

What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I wholeheartedly believe that military spouses are some of the hardest working people. Since we often have to reinvent ourselves with each move we learn quick and work hard. Not to mention we're resourceful, flexible, are used to multi-tasking and we possess a diverse set of skills. I would love to share with employers the many benefits of hiring military spouses and find new ways to help military spouses get training they need for interested career fields.

Reasons for nominating:

I want to nominate my wife because not only does she devote herself to our family and her work, but she gives selflessly in many volunteer positions. She sacrifices much of her time because she loves helping to make a difference in the community. -- Robert Patterson, Military-Spouse