Duty Station: Norfolk-Naval-Station
Number of Deployments: 5
Number of PCS's: 3
About the nominee: I am a proud Navy spouse, mom, and the second of six kids, which makes the rare holidays that we're all together so loud ... and so fun. My husband and I have been married just over ten years, and like many military spouses have only celebrated half of our anniversaries together. We have two children, ages 7 and 5, and despite having many cool jobs over the course of my career, being a mommy is the greatest thing I've ever done. Much like my own mother, I love meeting new people and have been known to befriend strangers in checkout lines and on airplanes. To my husband's surprise, I once invited a grocery store cashier to our family's Easter dinner. She was new in town and didn't know anyone in the area, and the MilSpouse in me knew that feeling all too well. She came over and even stayed for games with my family. I'm a firm believer that a high tide raises all boats and that there's always room at the table for (at least) one more. My background is in emergency management, having worked for the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the General Services Administration and other government entities while trying to navigate PCSes and deployments, but like most milspouses have done a little bit of everything. I’ve coached springboard diving camps, done event planning, taught leadership and disaster preparedness classes, designed and sold T-shirts, and delivered flowers. I proudly volunteer with Wings Over America, Wreaths Across America, and Operation Homefront as their emcee for the Hampton Roads Star Spangled Baby Shower and Homefront Celebration. My favorite volunteer position has to be serving as the kindergarten room mom. After spending several years blogging about our adventures in Guam, I had the incredible opportunity to write about our story as a military family as a series for the New York Times, and somehow found a second career in freelance writing. I'm passionate about telling the world how awesome, diverse, and resilient our military families really are.
Hobbies: I love drinking coffee, playing sports, watching American Ninja Warrior with my kids, the flying trapeze, and listening to podcasts.
Interesting Facts: I was the 2008 White House Easter Bunny.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? So often in the military community we hear, "You knew what you were getting into." I'll be honest: I didn't. My husband and I sat next to each other in high school biology in Colorado, and re-met in a bar nearly nine years later in Florida, where he was stationed and I was working at the time. I fell in love with him without any ideas about what his career choice would mean for us long term. But being a military spouse has taught me so much. From watching the service and sacrifices of my own husband and the bravery of our little ones, to the continued dedication of our incredible friends, I am in awe every day at this community. I've learned the real meaning of courage, strength in the face of adversity, what it means to show up, and the importance of finding your tribe. I've learned flexibility and creativity, how to "bloom where you're planted," and that the grass is always greenest where you water it. I might not have known what I was getting into, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? I'm very fortunate to serve as an advisor for the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) where we hear firsthand the vast array of issues facing our military families. The issue that continues to present itself time and time again is that of military spouse employment. When our families have to choose between financial health or continuing time in service, it becomes a force readiness issue. And we're there. With 90% of military spouses underemployed, the impacts go beyond finances and into family wellness. There are so many really wonderful spouses working on this issue, with companies like MadSkills aimed at matching spouses with remote work opportunities, Hiring Our Heroes initiatives, and teams like MFAN serving as champions for the MilSpouse community, and still, much work needs to be done.
What is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? When my husband and I got married ten years ago, I didn't have a single stamp in my blue passport. After our time in Guam, my passport was filled with experiences and memories from places I never thought I'd go: Cambodia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, Japan, Saipan, and the list goes on. Beyond the travel, though, the absolute best part of being a military family is the people we've met in all of those places. Strong, brave, truly amazing people, from Gold Star moms and spouses to friends next door in San Diego, Virginia and Guam. The friends we've made throughout our military adventure will carry us through our lifetimes. Being a military family has meant making friends in every corner of the globe, who are always only a phone call away.
What is one thing you want to accomplish with the Military Spouse of the Year title? We've all heard of the civilian military divide, and after 17 years of war, it sometimes seems the rest of the world is unaware of our increased op tempo and the fact that we're being asked to do more with less. The fact is, our military families - especially our spouses - are doing incredible, important, amazing things... and too often those outside our military community aren't hearing about it. I've spent the last year and a half interviewing and telling the stories of our military families, veterans and service members on Humans on the Homefront, and with the Military Spouse of the Year title, I want to elevate the stories of our spouses and amplify their voices, from the companies they run to the volunteer work they're doing, to how our civilian neighbors and friends can best support and encourage our community. Military spouses are some of the most impressive, resilient, giving, brilliant people out there... and it's time the rest of the world knows it, too.
Reasons for nominating:
T. T. Robinson is a Navy wife, mommy, writer, and actively involved in the military community. Ten years ago she started a blog to chronicle her and her husband’s adventures after a PCS to Guam. When she returned, she wrote a series for the New York Times called the Deployment Diary, showing the world what life as a military spouse was really like, going through deployment with two young children. T. T. founded Humans on the Homefront in 2016 and has shared hundreds of our military families’ stories, showcasing the diversity and resilience of military families. She’s helped raise over $100,000 for Gold Star families and military families in need, and her “Holiday Gift Giving Guide” featured over 100 veteran and military spouse owned businesses. T. T. also volunteers her time for Operation Homefront and is an active participant in the Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes. She is a member of the Milspo Project, and has held leadership positions in spouse clubs and FRGs. T. T. currently serves on the board of advisors for the Military Family Advisory Network. T. T. has written countless articles of encouragement and empowerment for military spouses. I had the pleasure of meeting T.T. while she was writing about the Milspo Project Conference and I felt like she was my long lost sister. I'm so grateful T.T. shares her talents with our military families. -- Rita Ann Jana, Friend