No one believes me when I tell them that I was the quiet, geeky nerd at the back of the class. I had few friends and was painfully shy. Thanksgiving Day 1989, I was introduced to the man that would take all that away. My Soldier introduced me to the Army life and it has never been a dull moment. I like to call it our Roller Coaster ride. Seven months after we were married, he left for Desert Storm, I was five months pregnant. That taught me the first lesson in independence and resiliency. Among the many deployments, TDYs, NTC rotations, and schools, we have raised four Army Strong Brats. They have embraced the challenges of growing up Army (the PCS moves, making new friends, sending Dad off on deployments), fearing them all at the same time. I grew up with a father that served two tours in Viet Nam. PTSD was a living, breathing being in my house. Not just my father’s but my own as well. I have lived with PTSD and trauma for 40 years. Acceptance and knowledge of PTSD has given me a passion to get the stigma of PTSD lifted and show the world what it means to live with a crippling disorder and to provide better methods to heal.
I married an Army Brat and after 29 years of active duty service, he is joining the ranks of the Retired Soldiers and the new roller coaster ride of Civilian life. Our oldest child proudly serves in the Army and has for the past three years. Just when you think that you have this Army life down, try living it as an Army Mom. I use my experiences to guide me through the obstacles that get thrown in our way. In my 26 years of marriage, I have served as a Family Support Group Leader, Family Readiness Leader (yes, there is a huge difference between the two), and for six years, as a Family Readiness Support Assistant for the Department of the Army. Five years ago, I met Melissa and quickly volunteered to join her as she built this community. I love the opportunity of working with spouses and loved ones in this capacity. I love helping them find their voice. The Fort Riley In-Person group is my base of operations and finding new creative and therapeutic ways to release anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety, etc. is my new passion and goes hand in hand with my passion for PTSD awareness, as many are dealing with their own or as caregivers to their Service Members. The Army has pretty much cured me of my shyness and given me the strength and knowledge to help others. I can’t wait to get the opportunity to know you!