Duty Station: Naval-Surface-Warfare-Center-Dahlgren
Number of Deployments: 8
Number of PCS's: 6
About the nominee: My name is Sarah Otto and I'm from Jefferson City, Missouri. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Jay, who has been in the Navy for over 20 years. We have 3 teenagers who are actively involved in school, as well as our church. Currently, my husband is stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii while the kids and I are at our old duty station (NSF Dahlgren) so that they can finish high school in one location (Over 2 years down, 6.5 months until we are all under the same roof. WAHOO!!). Currently I am the New Military Spouse Program Manager for the Military Spouse Advocacy Network where I help to educate and advocate for new Military Spouses. Over the last 6 years, I have continued my efforts to support and advocate the moral and families of sailors by moderating a support group for local families while being a team lead for our church greeting team and also maintaining Director status with Thirty-One Gifts. In addition, over the last 10 years I have successfully completed the following: Navy Services Family Line COMPASS program, All 9 Modules of Ombudsman Basic Training, Family Readiness Group Training, and Navy Family Ombudsman Certified Ombudsman Training.
Hobbies: What? Doing loads of laundry and being a stay in the car mom isn't a hobby? Ok, well I'm currently looking for a new hobby if that doesn't count. Like so many women, being a working mom and military spouse, my needs and interests get put on the back burner. In honesty, my hobby is helping others. I love knowing that others are taken care of and have their needs met.
Interesting Facts: I am a planner and have sticky notes everywhere. I love to be organized so I have paper planners, not just my phone. Doing this has helped me keep a positive outlook and rise to any challenge presented to me, my marriage, kids, business or the community.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? Patience and Flexibility! Prior to being a military spouse, it was important to me to know my day and have everything planned out. Through the years I've definitely learned to go with the flow and focus on the special moments and what matters most with my family and friends.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? Relocation and communication. I believe that military families do not get all of the information that they need to make relocating smooth and as stress free as possible. Having this information communicated to us in advanced helps to improve quality of life and set expectations as we transition our children.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? Being able to live in, and visit, places you would only dream of if it weren't for where you are stationed. Not to mention the friends you meet, that become family, along the way.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? I would like Military spouses to know that we make a bigger difference than one may think. I am not necessarily talking about things that we do within our homes or jobs, but that we are changing the world. Military spouses are the truest patriots because they keep the home front working while supporting those that defend our country. As MSOY I hope to help military families fight for more consistent career paths, mental health assistance, increase contribution for spouses to commands, and to open doors that they didn't know were even there for them. I want to share with other spouses how to define THEIR roles in their spouses career, as well as how to contribute to help in their spouses career.
Reasons for nominating:
I am writing to nominate Sarah Otto for Military Spouse of the year. Her family has just spent yet another Christmas apart from their sailor. Her sailor of twenty years, Jay Otto, is on deployment and has been on a geo bachelor tour these last two years. And the last time they saw each other was when he had to have emergency gall bladder removal surgery. If Sarah's framily (friend/family) had not been able to get her to him, that visit would not have been possible. And sadly the next time they would have seen each other was over a year and a half between visits. Sarah and Jay have been seperated while there has been major life changes, deaths in the family, and the normal day to day life a family should have together. Despite all of that, Sarah has shown Amazonian like strength and only gratitude and pride to be a Navy wife. She empowers others to be finacially secure through her Thirty One gifts directorship. Sarah is a beacon of hope and leadership to other military spouses as a group leader at church for military spouses. Just recently she has also been appointed Military Spouse Program Manager at Military Spouse Advocacy Network. Both are volunteer positions. Sarah also is a lead greeter at church that continues to demonstrate her commanding leadership ability. She is a dedicated mom to three teenagers, which are envolved with NJROTC, Band, and church volunteering. Although it keeps them all busy, it is just an example of how Sarah and Jay's dedication trickles down to their children. Her two daughters and son exude pride in their sailor dad and being a Navy famliy. But most importantly, Sarah has a heart that sprinkles love over anyone she meets. She is always there for everyone and does not ask for anything for herself. I am honored to have her in my family's life. We try our best to show her as much as possible how much we appreciate her service to her sailor, her country, her community, and her heart. -- Heather Hollis, Friend
There are many reasons I am nominating Sarah for the Military spouse of the year. Sarah and her husband Jay were high school sweethearts and have three children. Since Jay joined the military their family has been the best example of what a military family is. They live and breathe the pride of having the honor of serving in the Navy. Sarah spent many years as Ombudsman for the USS Sullivan and two of their children are in NJROTC. Right now Jay is stationed in Hawaii, while Sarah and the kids are in Virginia. They made a pact when the kids were younger that when they were in high school they wouldn't make the kids transfer. So they just crossed off the one year mark of being apart from each other. Jay will not be back to the East Coast until Fall of 2018. And they are not sure when, or if they will be able to see each other. During the year he has been gone Sarah has had to deal with getting kicked out of their house, moving, a loss of a pet, loss of a family member, and normal everyday craziness. But instead of focusing on the negative, she serves as shining example of how tough times only make you stronger. She inspires others to reach for their goals as a 31 Director. Not only giving her team financial independence and confidence, she gives back to our community by putting together Chemo Bags and Bags for our Police. She always thinks of others and many come to her to ask her how to best deal with being apart from your loved ones while they are serving. Sarah is truly a Wonder Women! -- Heather Hollis, Friend