Some people might say that Tara is the typical military wife, but she is so much more. She is the kind of woman/friend that no matter what she is feeling or what she has going on in her life, she will drop everything to be by your side when you need her.
Through happy times and not so happy times she has always been a rock and strength for others. I know that I can count on her being there for me as well as the other ladies in our Battalion. It is so nice to have not only the leadership that she provides to us wives, but her sincere friendship as well. She is a true model of an Army Wife and I am so proud to call her my friend.
Tara Crooks goes above and beyond the call of duty as a military spouse and friend. She wears many hats flawlessly, and for that, I believe she must be selected as the Military Spouse of the Year.
What are the hats she wears? Tara is:
Army Wife Talk Radio co-host
Army Wife Network Co-founder
Military Spouse Community Manager at USAA
Co-author of 1001 Things to Love About Military Life
Really. She does ALL of those things, seemingly effortlessly. Tara has not only made strides to empower military spouses -- wives and husbands -- with valuable information, but she has impacted the lives of many through all of her hats.
To me, the biggest hat Tara wears is being co-founder of Army Wife Network, which has a following of more than 45,000 people on Facebook. The main website, ArmyWifeNetwork.com, is a hub for a tremendous amount of information about Army life. It’s the first stop for many Army spouses, including me, who have a question about something, be it Space A travel, care packages, FRGs, reviews on different posts, etc. You name it; it’s there.
Tara has a beautiful family. She is the wife of deployed MAJ Kevin Crooks and the mama of two of the most adorable girls, Chloe and Wrena. She is a thoughtful friend, and an outstanding mentor to many, including me.
I could go on and on about Tara, but I’ll let you see for yourself. If there were a Military Spouse of the Decade, I’d nominate her for that, too! But, for now, make her Military Spouse of the Year. She probably doesn’t realize it, but she’s earned it.
I am the proud Work At Home Mama (WAHM) of Wrena and Chloe, and wife to MAJ Kevin Crooks, US Army. I love Mexican food, the color red (Field Artillery kind), primitive decorating, crafting, and baking. I'm known as a “glass half full” kind of gal who can craft a serious belly laugh. I believe it's safe to say that anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes with me knows I love my animals.
Our journey with the military began in 1998 when Kevin and I PCS’d to our first duty station, Ft Hood, TX. We have since been stationed at Fort Stewart, GA, and Fort Sill, OK. We are originally from Southwest Missouri – Springfield (Nixa). Our family has been living the military lifestyle for fifteen years and we have endured one unaccompanied tour to Korea and three deployments.
Once I sat still long enough to earn a BBA in Human Resource Management. I thought that would be what I would do the rest of my life. The Army journey had other plans. In 2005, during my husband's first deployment, I started a Army Wife Talk Radio as a hobby. Little did I know what it would grow to be today. In 2009, along with Starlett Henderson, I cofounded Army Wife Network and in 2011 published "1001 Things to Love about Military Life". I am a Military Spouse Community Manager with USAA. I am happy to hold the distinction as one of Military Spouse Magazine’s “Who’s Who among Military Spouses” for 2009 and American Legion Auxiliary “Woman of the Year 2008”. I’ve been featured in many media outlets and spoken in many venues.
On the volunteer front, I have served as an Army Community Service Master Trainer, ACS Volunteer Course Director, Spouse Coffee Group Leader, Army Family Team Building Trainer, Family Readiness Group Leader, Family Readiness Group Advisor, Growing Spouses Army Strong (GSAS) Course Coordinator, Instructor, and Curriculum Writer, Security Forces Advisory Team Lead, and Officers Spouse Club First & Second Vice President among other volunteer projects/duties. What I am most proud of is attaining the goal of my military journey – to empower military spouses to make the most of their lives. Even if you change one life, you've made a difference.
Visit me and find out more at: www.TaraCrooks.com
laugh - really it's my favorite. I also love to spend time with my family and travel. I love my job - networking, assisting military famlies, blogging, the radio show, and our amazing Army Wife Network "family" team. I like to craft, decorate, cook, bake, sing, and watch television. In my spare time I snuggle up with my dogs and play games (aka "reading") on my Kindle.
Visit me and find out more at: www.TaraCrooks.com
My professional sites: www.ArmyWifeNetwork.com, www.LovingASoldier.com, www.LoveMilitaryLife.com
my husband. I know it sounds corny but I seriously must be the luckiest woman on Earth to have found my best friend when I wasn't even looking. I am also a major animal lover.
people who don't respect other people's time. I'm a planner, an organizer, and scheduler and if I say I'll do it, I'll do it. If you say you will, I expect you to too. I also cannot stand rude people and people who don't think of the affect their actions will have on others. Take some personal responsbility, be nice, and be on time. Please.
If you had told me fifteen years ago this is what I'd be doing today I'd have laughed at you. I was a high school senior who just went on a date with a cute guy. That guy and his plans were not part of my master plan of growing up in a city and working for some large corporation. Fifteen years later - now - I wouldn't have it any other way. We've explored the world, we've grown a beautiful resilient family, and we have conquered more challenges than most do in a lifetime. I absolutely love (yes, even on the hard days) what I do. I love sharing and empowering military families to make the most of their journey. This life is HARD but it is one to LOVE.
I believe that through the relationships and networks that I have built that the title of MSOY would only further our reach to military families. I would love to continue to do more of what I've been given the opportunity to do on my journey thus far. (see more on question 6)
Absolutely hands down I would ask for a day with my grandma and grandpa (probably Christmas because it was grandma's favorite holiday). They are no longer alive but I know they are with me. I'd love to talk to them and hug them one last time. They have taught me so much through their words and their actions. I know I would not be who I am today without their wonderful guidance.
I’m a mom. When there is a tight time in our budget I don’t drive an hour and a half to the city and visit Whole Foods where I stock up on all new ingredients and organic spices to make some elaborate dish I just saw on Food Network. I open up the pantry and I take a look around at what healthy, creative, fun, and inexpensive way I can feed my family with what we already have. This military life we live in has a plethora of resources (food in our pantry), many untapped. In the tough economic times our Nation is facing it is time that military families open up the pantry, take a look around at what we have and utilize it. We need to educate our families to tap into the resources already created before we go out and reinvent the wheel. We have many supporters in our civilian population reaching to help us but because of lack of marketing and communication flow those resources go underutilized while millions of dollars are poured into creation of the next “new thing”.
I feel like most of the time all military spouses want is some recognition that what they do is "serving too" and that they're not forgotten. I think they like to have answers - REAL answers not sugar coated fluff. I know they like resources and ways to make their journey easier and more enjoyable. I would like to see more communication from military leader directly to spouses’ and answers to issues. We understand a lot more when we know WHY things happen. I'd love to interview some of our top leaders and ask them questions straight from real-life everyday military families. I'd love to share the successes and challenges of our military families with the civilian population in a way that the mainstream media cannot. We're more than just deployments and homecomings - we're amazing!