Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Rivanna-Station
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 7
About the nominee: I am an Air Force spouse to my wonderful husband Chris, who is my best friend. We've been married for 18 years and he has been active duty for over 18 years as well. We have two amazing children together: Rory is 7 and she is an adorable curly haired ball of knowledge and energy who enjoys dance and Girl Scouts, and Ronan is 17 and enjoys playing the drums in his high school band. He also plans to follow in his father's, grandfather's, and great-great grandfather's footsteps by joining the military after he graduates in 2019. I work full time as an accountant and am a full time student as well. We are currently in a unique situation regarding our location as we are not attached to or near a military installation. This is my first experience not being at or living on an Air Force base and it has provided some unique challenges. Information and support for our military families is a challenge here without the structure that is usually provided by the squadron and instillation. My goal these past two years that we've been stationed here has been to provide a network of support and information for military spouses that was not available previously. We not only include Air Force Spouses, but spouses of all branches as well as civillians as they are all represented here. We have grown as a community and are now recognized and supported by leadership, who value our efforts.
Hobbies: In my spare time, I enjoy reading, baking, video games, and spending time with my family. Some of our favorite things to do together is play games. We have quite a large collection of board and card games and love to spend our free time playing them.
Interesting Facts: Something that people might find interesting about me is my love of food. I enjoy eating, cooking, creating new recipes, and receive great satisfaction when people enjoy my food. At our last duty station, I received many compliments on my food that I brought to events that friends and acquaintances began offering to pay me to cook or bake for them. This eventually led me to open my own bakery. Having one of my greatest joys turn into a profitable career was a dream come true!
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? I think being a military child and spouse has taught me how to be extremely flexible and always prepared. Being a member of a military family brings with it so many variables, that means that plans can, and inevitably will, change. And change again...and again. Wether it is a holiday, or last minute PCS or deployment, or child's sporting event, always having a plan B (and C, D, & E) as well as being able to handle the changes with as little stress and worry as possible has greatly helped me in life. This skill has helped me not just as a spouse, but also in my career, education, and in life in general.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? Spousal unemployment or underemployment is a very important issues for military families. Spouses seeking employment often feel that the gaps in employment or frequent change in jobs due to PCS's have hampered their job search. They fear that disclosing their status as a military spouse will affect their chance of being hired, often taking lower-paying, entry level jobs just to gain employment. For many military families, having a dual income household is a necessity and not a luxury. We need to make spouses seeking employment a priority by connecting them with organizations that are actively seeing to employ military spouses and with programs aimed at aiding spouses find a career that is right for them.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? The Adventure! As a former military child and now military spouse, I have had the opportunity to live all over the United States and visit many places that I probably would not have had the chance to had I not been a part of a military family. I have met many wonderful people and made life-long friendships. Our family looks at our adventures as chapters in our life stories. Each new move and change is just one more opportunity to continue our adventures, just in a new chapter.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? One thing that I feel very passionate about is education. Many spouses put their education on hold and do not return to college until later in life for many reasons. Family, children, and cost are of great concern. However, there are so many programs, scholarships, and grants available to facilitate the education of military spouses. Spouse employment is one of the greatest concerns military families face and education can greatly help spouses gain employment. I feel that advocating for the continuing education of military spouses would be one of the best things I would accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title.
Reasons for nominating:
Chrissy is an amazing person. She is always the first one to volunteer and is not afraid of hard work. She has been a Key Spouse, served on the boards of multiple organizations, works full time, is a full time student, owned her own business, has a wonderful family, and still has time to help anyone in need. I could not ask for a better friend or think of anyone who deserves to be a Spouse of the Year more than Chrissy. -- Anonymous, Friend
I am nominating Mrs. Laycock because she has done an amazing job this past year in organizing the spouses into an thriving community. Because we are not attached to any base or post, and are an amalgamation of all branches as well as civilians and retirees spread out over such a diverse geographical area, having any type of spousal groups or support was just not available. Mrs. Laycock has been instrumental in the creation of a network that not only provides social interactions, but also is key in decimating information and providing support to the spouses of all branches, civilians, and retirees. Thanks to Mrs. Laycock’s efforts, membership in this past year has quadrupled what it was the year previous, and more importantly, our spouses are receiving much needed support that they were otherwise without due to our location. -- Joy Bennett, Fellow Military Spouse