Branch: Coast Guard
Duty Station: District-8-Gulf-Coast
Number of Deployments: 12
Number of PCS's: 3
About the nominee: Hello, my name is Jennie and I am 34 years old. I am originally from the Boston area and I met my husband when he was stationed in Gloucester, Ma. We have a beautiful 6 year old boy named Malachy, I had Cervical Cancer when I was 18 and I was told that I would never be able to have children. That's how I knew it was a sign from god when I got pregnant and it confirmed my belief that my husband and I were meant to be together. I was raised in the foster care system and eventually ended up aging out of the system. So now every unit we move to, we adopt less fortunate families for the holidays and I organize foster kid events. I am very outgoing, giving, loyal and honest. I love being a wife, a mom and I am also a hard worker.
Hobbies: Making Jewelry, working out, and watching the Patriots!
Interesting Facts: I started raising my younger brother when I was 9 years old. I was his main parental figure from when he was 2 years old till after he graduated high school.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? I learned a lot about family, community and the Coast Guard values. It is truly amazing seeing the impact that such a small service has on the world.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? I feel like we all face the same issues. Our spouses work in a rapidly changing environment and in order to properly support them, we must remain flexible. When they are deployed on patrols or helping with hurricane relief efforts, it is easier on them when they know that we are prepared back home and taken care of. As spouses, when we all work together, we are stronger as a team and can better support our service members and each other.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? Being able to travel around and making a difference every where we get stationed. It is an honor to witness the great work our service members do each and everyday.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I would like to use this accomplishment to bring attention to charities that are near and dear to my heart, as well as to help shine a light on how civilian communities are enriched by the military men and women who share that community.
Reasons for nominating:
Jennifer truly embodies all that it means to be a military spouse. Over the last year while her family was assigned to the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center, Mobile, Alabama, Jennifer has worked tirelessly to contribute to the well-being of others. She is an active member of the Coast Guard Spouse’s Association and has assisted with six major family related morale events. She volunteered at Firehouse Subs on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to make sandwiches for first responders who were required to work on the holidays. During the Christmas season, Jennifer and her family personally “adopted” eight families in need, to provide children’s toys and stocking stuffers. She is also in the beginning stages of a fundraising campaign for Together We Rise, a charity that provides bicycles, school supplies, hygiene kits, toys and suitcases for children entering the foster care system in an attempt to ease that painful transitional burden. Jennifer is also diligently progressing towards her qualification as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused, neglected and abandoned children in Alabama. Jennifer’s community service here in Alabama is the continuation of a lengthy history of such work. In Massachusetts, she solicited donations to purchase a lift van for a paralyzed six-year old boy and in Iowa, assisted in the establishment of a free child identification non-profit organization after the tragic abduction and murder of two local children. In Michigan, she raised $1,000 with only a week’s notice for the Swishes for Wishes program, a local fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. She also adopted fifteen needy families for Thanksgiving and Christmas and organized a Christmas party for 35 foster children. On top of her busy community involvement schedule, Jennifer works part-time and is very active in her six-year old son’s school. She always finds the time to help him with his homework and manage her household. I cannot think of another person more deserving of the honor of being recognized as the Military Spouse of the Year. -- Craig Edsall, Family