Branch: Coast Guard
Duty Station: District-11-Pacific-Coast
Number of Deployments: 2
Number of PCS's: 4
About the nominee: Hi my name is Nicole. I am a Coast Guard spouse and a mom to two amazing kiddos. I am also a Navy Veteran so I understand the craziness of both the active duty side of a marriage and the spouse side. I am currently in college at the Acadmey Of Arts in San Francisco getting my masters in multi media communication. I am doing this to not only help get a job when my spouse retires but also help in my daily duties as an ombudsman. I consider myself the outgoing one of the group. I will be the first to go up and introduce myself to someone, learn about them and make sure they feel included in anything that we are doing.
Hobbies: We are a family of trying new things and exploring. When we get stationed somewhere new, we instantly start trying new places, meeting new people and seeing the local sporting events. We also love exploring the outdoors. Being stationed in Northern California we have been able to explore some amazing national parks.
Interesting Facts: When i was 15 I got to travel with a student exchange program to Japan. This allowed me to see different cultures and how they varied from what I grew up with in a small town in upstate New York.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? One thing I have learned and carry with me to each duty station is that we are all in this together. Being an ombudsman for the command I have had the opportunity to meet more spouses than most. I love hearing everyone's stories, where they came from, where they plan on going. The coast guard is such a small branch that most of the time that person you are talking to has a mutual friend or has been stationed somewhere that you have. Knowing that someone shares something similar in that way is an awsome thing.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? I believe the changes happening with our medical insurance this year is going to be a big issue. We are having to re learn the system, finding new providers if your old one did not carry over and making sure that referrals got pushed through. Also learning what the new deductibles are for tricare select and being able to help families that come forward to the command with questions is another challenge.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? I love how we get to explore the world! We have lived in places that people vacation too and have also lived in places that were re building while we are there. Getting to experience the difference in the states from the food to the hospitality is something I will forever be greatful for.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I want to bridge the gap between military families and the commands. Make new spouses aware of what benefits there are to them especially with using their ombudsman, and make sure the commands are aware of what challenges the military families are facing. I want spouses to feel that they are not alone in this life during times of need and deployments and that there are others there to help you out and listen.
Reasons for nominating:
Nicole is the most selfless person I have ever met. She is constantly putting the coast guards needs before her own. Nicole has been an Coast Guard ombudsman for the last 6 years. She serves on our local military housing advisory board, is an active participant with the Spouses Club and works hand in hand with the morale committee at each unit to ensure command functions work for all. Nicole has put her career on the back burner for mine. She has gotten her bachelors and is currently going for her masters degree, knowing she won’t be able to settle into her lifetime job until my time in the military is complete. Due to Nicole going to college and using her Gi bill she works tirelessly with other spouses to ensure they are getting the most out of their military benefits education wise. Above all else Nicole learns each new duty station quickly that way she can help new incoming spouses around. Being sure that she can answer their questions effectively. -- Clark Lauer , Fellow Military Spouse