Duty Station: Fort-Leonard-Wood
Number of Deployments: 2
Number of PCS's: 4
About the nominee: I have been an active duty Spouse for over 12 years. During my husband's 2nd deployment, I became FRG co leader and surprisingly loved it. After volunteering over 1,000 hours, I helped plan a very successful Welcome Home party for 250 guests. I worked with FRSA and BOSS to get assistance from the USO to obtain toiletries, bedding and snacks for single soldiers barracks upon their arrival. During that time I also volunteered for the Care Team and endured a heart breaking experience with a family whose sponsor committed suicide. My time with this family was very brief however their tragedy has forever left an imprint on my soul. While overseas, I also had a friend lose her husband and while I had the honor of acting as her liaison, it was difficult and surreal to see firsthand what losing your husband, soldier and partner can be like. Other people's hardships have made me appreciate life and the gifts that God has given me. My health, my family, my friends and my experiences.
Hobbies: We have 2 boys who are 12 and 15 with one being a football player and one a drummer. My time off consists of being their personal Uber to and from practices and competitions. Haha! I enjoy reading books and watching movies.
Interesting Facts: I was raised by my dad and have 2 brothers. I picked up the love of professional sports along the way. I love watching baseball, hockey and football. At almost 40 years old, I am told that I'm a rare breed. Happy to hear it. Now that it looks like we will finally settle and our days of moving will come to an end, I am (finally) starting my own career. Working full time again has had its own challenges but is also very exciting. I was blessed to be able to stay home with the boys for quite a few years but now we have to prepare to pay for college!
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? What haven't I learned?! I have learned that "hurry up and wait" is really a thing! Without sounding cliché, I have learned how to be independent, resilient and pliable. I have also learned to value my friends that have grown into family. I don't know if it's age or being affiliated with the military, but I have also learned to value life.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? Schools. We are very fortunate to be in a great district now but I have heard unsettling stories about the conditions that some military families have to Schools. We are very fortunate to be in a great district now but I have heard unsettling stories about the conditions that some military families have to deal with by surrounding area schools. I am speaking of safety as well as inadequate training for the staff regarding a military child’s unique lifestyle.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? Moving. I love being able to expose our children to the world and different cultures! Thanks to the Army, they have lived in 3 different states and out of the country in Okinawa, Japan. I love meeting new people and thoroughly enjoy knowing people all over the globe. Thanks to social media, I can keep up with everybody's life.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I have to pick one? There is so much I would like to advocate for. Homeless Vets, Wounded Warriors, Senior Vets in homes. My husband John is a member of CVMA (Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association) and I had the pleasure of riding with them to a senior assisted living facility. We spoke with a few "old-timers" and learned that many of them out-lived their entire family, or have family that never visits. These few vets were just grateful to have someone to talk to and reminisce about the good old days with or to even just smoke a cigarette. We also met a couple of guys that shared about their financial hardship. The nursing home charges what they make in income monthly. Therefore, any necessities that they may need such as replacement toothbrushes, razors, deodorant, soap, new socks and underwear cannot be purchased. The CVMA was donating a large quantity of the toiletries and the residents were so excited. Spending e just a couple hours with them was so much fun! I'm also passionate about the life of a long term soldier when their job is over. Whether they retire, get injured in combat or get med boarded, I worry about their mental wellness. Many soldiers spend 10-20 years not asking for help and they find themselves in a foreign position of needing assistance but don't know how to go about getting help. From resumes to school to job hunting to physical rehab. ACS does a great job at offering their help, I would just like to aid in additional outlets. Lastly, with the suicide rate so high, I would like to help in the continued effort with bringing it to an end.
Reasons for nominating:
Yvonne is the epitome of a strong, supportive and resilient military spouse! Yvonne is the spouse that you go to when you need advice or information and she is always there to help a fellow wife. She is a friend to all and everyone loves her. -- Melissa Thompson, Friend