Branch: Coast Guard
Duty Station: District-14-Hawaii-and-Guam
Number of Deployments: 1 Deployment with the USMC and 4 years of Underways with USCG.
Number of PCS's: 5 about to be 6
About the nominee: Aloha! My name is Stacy Bilodeau and I have been a Military Spouse for about 11 years (5 as a USMC Spouse and 6 as a USCG Spouse). I am a Graphic Designer, Ombudsman, sports lover, runner, mommy to two amazing kiddos and adventurous.
Hobbies: I love to volunteer! "Serving those who serve" has always held a special place in my heart, as well as giving back to the community. Some of the volunteer work I stay busy with is co-leading a local Girl Scout troop, working with Habitat for Humanity, providing support as an USCG Ombudsman, and serving on Joint Spouses' Conference board. I also enjoy using my graphic design skills to help provided work for Stroller Warriors of Pearl Harbor, Coast Guard Spouses Association and Coast Guard events. When I am not busy volunteering you can also see me hitting the pavement around Oahu training for half and full marathons or baking up goodies with my two very helpful assistants.
Interesting Facts: I played on a National Basketball team in Atlanta, GA when I was in high school.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? Patience: Patience for my husband's demanding work schedule, that is never guaranteed or the same. Patience for my children, that I can be both parents during each underway time. Patience for the job market, that I will get back into full time work.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? Military Lifestyle Knowledge: While serving as a Family Readiness Assistant and also as an Ombudsman to two different branches I feel Knowledge to our fellow Military Spouses is a major issue. Our Military Members go through 6 to 8 weeks of training to become a Serving Member, and as Spouses there is no training to become Military Spouse, we get the call of when we will be moving and we move. In my opinion if we gave Military Spouses more knowledge of how to seek out resources or how to handle situations there would be less stress on Military Families. I am very fortunate enough to have had trainings from volunteer work and professional work to be able to serve other Military Families from every day issues to life issues; such as how to get a POA, how to read a LES, what do to in a missal attack, space a travel, how to find childcare providers, services members deaths, and how to switch Tricare regions (and these are just to name a few). All while having to work through the wrong information getting out with social media. While we can't predict all life events or issues, we owe it to our Military Spouses to give them the knowledge and empowerment of where to go to get right information to be able to take care of themselves, their service member and family.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? Getting to travel this great country and meeting amazing people along the way. This Spring, we will experience our 6th PCS. We have gotten to live around some beautiful, historic places. I have had the opportunity to walk down Paul Revere's trail, walked the beach after Super Storm Sandy, run the Cliff-walk in Newport, honored the fallen in the attack at Pearl Harbor, and joined 30,000 runners in the Honolulu Marathon.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? This past year I had the wonderful opportunity to be on the board for the Joint Spouses' Conference. Which is a yearly non-profit conference that gathers over 500 active duty, reserve, retired and Gold Star Spouses from all Military branches for a day long conference on Oahu; filled with workshops, speakers, meals, music, entertainment, a retail and a information Marketplace. It's a full day of just fun for Military Spouses, selecting form a verity of workshops such as paddle board, historical tours, self-defense/workout classes to presenters such as Space A travel, money saving tips, empowering yourself and career. With the Military Spouse of the Year title I would like to partner up with Military Spouse Magazine and bring this conference to the mainland, doing one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. Seeing the joy of over 500 Military Spouses come together, connect, have fun, gain Military Lifestyle Knowledge, meet new people and take a day for themselves was something I wish all Military Spouses across the United States could and should experience. Even though our Service Members are in different military branches, we all have one thing in common, being a Military Spouse. And that is a special bond that should be shared and celebrated.
Reasons for nominating:
She is a tireless volunteer that applies her graphic and event planning skills to nonprofit organizations. In the last year she volunteered for the Hawaii Joint Spouses Conference, sat on the board for the Coast Guard Spouses Association while making their media, made graphics for the Coast Guard Ball and multiple other agency events and she is the troop leader for our daughters girl scout troop. She is truly a selfless individual that I could not be prouder of. With my unpredictable schedule she holds our family together and I wouldn't be able to serve without her. Thank you, I could provide more examples if needed. -- Jeremy Bilodeau, Family