LoJo is an amazing woman! She is the epitome of what a military spouse should be, which is strong, caring, supportive, and brave.
I am nominating Lori because she is the epitome of what it means to be a Military Spouse! She is always trying to help others and leading by example. She is the go to person when a spouse is in need for anything, and can give any one advice no matter the problem. She is an example of what a walk in Christ looks like, and she is not afraid to show her talents for the gory of God. Lori makes living look easy! Sometimes as a military spouse, it is so hard to find your niche; but Lori has made it possible for any spouse, of any branch, to get involved in different events and activities to help us find our strengths as well as meet new people. From her, e learn the best of military life, and how to make it work for us in all of our different life situations. She is the best Military Spouse I know to represent this title because she walks and lives this person I speak of every single day without change.
She gives of herself to others constantly, supports her husband wholeheartedly, and gives her all 100 percent of the time.
She is Mrs. Everything. There is not a soul that she meets that isn't forever impacted by her kindness, love, generosity, and committment to doing everything within her power to help and support you no matter it is. She loves and supports her husband, she's an awesome mother to both of her sons, she has mentored and mothered thousands of teens and young adults across all boundaries from middle and high schools, youth ministries and church groups, and Penn State University organizations. Oh, and she also holds a Bachelors, 2 Masters, and a PhD spanning various fields of study all concentrating in some way on communication, service, and leadership. She is as special as they come.
Lori is my sister and I have the utmost respect for the commitment and dedication she has always shown in support of not only her husband but her extended “military family”. She has become known as the "Air Force Mommy" and I can attest to the fact that she has served many in this role. She has been a "mother" to military spouses, children, and personnel, as well as the many civilian employees and community supporters of the military. But she is not just a "mother", she is a friend, advocate, counselor, coach, mentor, shoulder to lean or cry on, an ear to bend and so much more.
My sister knows what her God-given purpose in life is and that's to "Make a positive difference in the lives of others on a daily basis." She actively seeks out opportunities to touch the lives of those on base and in the community in a positive way and often times it just happens naturally. There are very few moments in a day where Lori is not actively serving others and striving to make that positive difference. In any given day she can be found attending various base and community meetings and events, serving as an advisor to the Tinker Enlisted Spouses Network where she plays an active role in the creation and implementation of initiatives that serve to both educate and provide resources to enlisted spouses thus enabling them to properly support their active duty spouse at military events; hosting airmen and their families in her home; and providing emotional support to spouses and families, all in an effort to make the lives of military families and those in the surrounding community better. Even when she is doing something for herself she still finds a way to bless someone else in the process either with a kind word, hug, gift, or just with her infectious smile and laughter.
My sister's passion to make a difference extends beyond her military family and Tinker AFB. It's the reason why she has raised two intelligent and respectful sons; why so many children and adults across this nation and various military bases call her "mama", "aunt", and “sister”; why she is pursuing her PhD in Human Resources; why she is writing her first book; why she started her own personal and professional coaching business called The Nerve; why she was nominated for The Pennsylvania State University 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award; why she was awarded the 2012 Penn State Achieving Woman of the Year award; why her husband is continually impressed by her selfless commitment; why I'm proud to call her my sister; and why you would be proud to call her your Military Spouse of the Year.
The military has been a part of my life all my life and I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I can relate to many aspects of military life, as a daughter, reservist, and spouse. It has provided me with the opportunity to experience different cultures and appreciate the diversity of the world we live in. I have been blessed with an amazing husband and two incredible sons. It has been a joy for me to use my talents, experience and education (currently in the final stages of completing my PhD) to help military families. I have and continue to participate in, coordinate, speak at, and/or facilitate programs for families via the Chapel, the Airman and Family Readiness Center, etc. (i.e. Marriage Retreats, Time Management and Goal Setting courses, Laughter and Esteem seminars, Spouse Appreciation and Heritage events). I am a Key Spouse Mentor and have supported the spouses’ groups at the bases we have been stationed. I am always honored to volunteer in the community and currently serve on several advisory boards. I am also involved in my university alma mater, as a mentor to students and as a board member. LAUGHING is my specialty!
"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can."
...learn and constantly continue my education with hopes that I can share my knowledge and life experiences with others to help and celebrate with them.
...my children. Military children often experience the same feelings and emotions as military spouses. I am proud of my children and their accomplishments.
...Bullying amongst military spouses. When spouses are demeaned by other spouses for asking questions or discouraged when sharing dreams/goals, it can lead to loneliness/depression.
I am so honored to be considered for this award and thank those who took the time to nominate me. I have been a part of the military family my entire life. My father was career Air Force. I did AFROTC in college. I have been a military spouse for more than 25 years. I believe sharing my knowledge and life experiences can help other military spouses and families. I enjoy finding ways to help military spouses embrace and enjoy their time as spouses to include supporting the military member while still enjoying their individuality, whether that includes: working in or out of the home; choosing to or not to pursue personal career/educational goals; and discovering ways to assist their immediate and extended family embrace military lifestyle. Trying to find that balance can sometimes be overwhelming. I have enjoyed a successful professional career and been able to pursue all of my educational goals, all while supporting my husband and raising two wonderful children. I have no secrets - just techniques/ideas to share. Wisdom is meant to be shared!
As MSOY, I would focus on building new and supporting existing programs geared toward helping spouses maintain individuality and be empowered while embracing being a team member of the military community. I would also like to honor our military services by bringing awareness to spouses on the meaning and purpose behind time honored military traditions .
My father, who just recently passed away at the young age of 67, was a remarkable man who was committed to serving his country. He enlisted in the military at a young age and enjoyed a stellar career - making each rank in record time. He made E-9 very quickly and was a great role model as the "Chief”. After a successful active duty career, he continued to serve his country in the same capacity but this time as a civilian government employee for an additional 20+ years. When my dad retired from active duty, I was able to attend most of the celebrations but was not able to attend the actual formal retirement ceremony. I would go back in time to that day, to be part of the crowd that recognized and thanked him for his dedication, commitment, and years of service to a grateful nation. Thank you Dad!
- The Spirit of Positive Individuality and Empowerment
It is often difficult for some spouses to adapt and maintain their individuality and sense of empowerment while being part of the military community.
- Transition Assistance for High School and College Military Children
As a military child, transitioning from high school to college/career or from college to career may be difficult as a result of numerous PCS's. Programs focused on assisting our older military children with this transition would be helpful for families.
- Military Traditions and Protocol Knowledge
Our military services are rich in heritage complimented with amazing traditions and customs. Attendance at military functions for some can be viewed as something to look forward to and for others not so much. I have heard from many spouses who are often uncomfortable and/or intimidated while attending functions. Lack of knowledge and uncertainty regarding ranks, attire, table etiquette, spouse roles, etc. can sometimes deter spouses from attending and supporting their partner. I have hosted an annual event for spouses to help them become more knowledgable of military traditions, events, and protocols. Spouses are appreciative and leave excited about being alongside their partner during promotions, graduations, balls, retirements, etc.
- Support for families of Wounded Warriors and those suffering from PSTD
I believe more programs should be implemented to assist these families with financial and emotional transition.