Pamela Chavez

pamela chavez

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Fort-Riley

Number of Deployments: Personally, I deployed for 12 months to Iraq. My husband has been deployed countless times.

Number of PCS's: 4

About the nominee: It's funny, looking back I never thought I would join the Army, let alone marry another soldier. Now I can't imagine life any other way. In my late 20's I sold everything I owned to back pack around the world for the year of 2000. I perused South America, Australia, Thailand, India and the European Union. Little did I know after I returned that 9/11 would happen and the general state of America would shift. I had returned to the states with a new appreciation for the world and a yearning to go back to college. The economy made it tough to find employment and I found myself joining the Army as a way to ensure I would get my degree. I ended up meeting my husband while I was serving as a combat medic. I deployed to Iraq for 1 year and was stop-lossed to complete the deployment. After returning from deployment I began my civilian life and we got married in 2007. I attended Culinary School in WA, while we were stationed at JBLM. I graduated on the Dean's list. I continued my education and utilizing my GIBill and became a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant while we were stationed at Camp Humphreys in Korea, again graduating on the Dean's list. My husband and I have three young boys ages 8, 6, and 3. The focus of my nutrition practice is working with military spouses that finally understand the need to care for themselves after years of caring for everyone and everything else. My drive and passion is to educate other spouses that you don't "have to wait for your time to come", it is possible and your time is right now. Caring for yourself does not mean you are leaving others on the sidelines, instead you are honoring your value. I know,as military spouses begin to learn coping mechanisms for this stress-filled lifestyle, and simple healthy eating/living habits, their entire family benefits. Homelife becomes more harmonious and the soldier is not hit with even more stress when arriving home after a long busy day.

Hobbies: Cooking, playing with my children, having family time, researching all sorts of stuff, yoga, reading.

Interesting Facts: I have a recipe of mine published on FoodMatters.com. Also, I seem to remember the words to all the songs on the radio. It baffles my 8 year old that I know the words to any song that comes on, new or old.

What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? I have such a sense of pride for all that military families endure and persevere through; I am stronger than I ever knew.

In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? With so much time spent apart, whether deployments, long work hours that are stressful, and TDY in the mix; it has to be a conscious effort to remain connected and not have resentments overwhelm the marriage. It is important to utilize the programs and services that are available to service members and their family members. Many are not aware they exist, or how great of an impact they can have on their marriage and children.

What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? The sense of community and understanding we all have for each other in this special lifestyle. Military families get one another, the good, bad, ugly and amazing.

What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? Raise awareness and appreciation for all that the Military Spouse shoulders on the day to day. They are the forgotten ones in this lifestyle and many times are living as a single parent although they are married. They need connection, appreciation, permission to care for themselves, follow their passions, and feel their best. It only takes learning how and seeing how amazing it feels. Many times women are afraid to speak up in times of struggle, afraid they will seem weak or simply don't know where to turn. They need to know they are the farthest thing from weak, everyone struggles. But how you rise up after the struggles, how you recognize and befriend another spouse during times of struggle, that is the ultimate strength.

Reasons for nominating:

Pamela is a veteran and military spouse. Whether in her element in active duty or spouse life, she shines with positivity and connection around her. She has dedicated the last 2 years of her life putting her culinary background and passion for wellness intro practice by supporting and guiding the communities around her. Being able to balance Army life, mom life, spouse life, and business life shows exactly how much she would shine and contribute as a Military Spouse of the Year. -- Marie McLaughlin, Fellow Military Spouse