One of the things I have always loved about our military community has been the â€œgivers.â€ Theyâ€™ve been there. At every duty station. In every base housing neighborhood. And at our base chapel all along.
The neighbor across theÂ street that you could ask for an egg or some milk when you forgot to purchase something at the commissary (or were trying to stretch things until the next payday).
The mom from your childâ€™s class that would help with a drop-off after a long night with the baby while your spouse was deployed.
The Chaplainâ€™s wife that gave you a ride when you were lost walking on base in Japan with 3 kids after a 24hr flight.
How much more do our community and our world need examples of these spouses than right now? And I am proud to say theyâ€™re EVERYWHERE.
My timeline has been filled with:
- spouseâ€™s sewing masks for our healthcare workers
- hosting free online workouts
- granting access to entrepreneurship conferences online
- spreading kindness, love and hope!
Military spouses everywhere, it is our time to shine!Â
Less than 1% of our nationâ€™s current population serves in the armed services, and we have tried to raise awareness for years regarding the ever-widening gap between our world and that of our civilian counterparts.
COVID-19 has forced many Americans to face the reality of their morbidity and that of those they love like never before.
As a nation at war for the last 18 plus years, this is something our community has had to deal with on a daily basis for decades.
- The fear of a loved one passing away without us being there to comfort them.
- Giving birth to our children without a spouse present as they took their 1st breath.
- Being separated from all that gives us joy, comfort, and security in the midst of some of lifeâ€™s most torrential storms.
Weâ€™ve done it, weâ€™ve survived it, and weâ€™ve had others to cheer us on! Itâ€™s our turn.
- The sense of pride that has swelled within our chests when a perfect stranger walks up to our uniformed spouse in public and thanks us for our service.
- The companies that have given so generously of their profits, time, and efforts to help our families feel seen.
- The communities and neighbors that have helped our families through deployments, championed our kids during the school sports season and have been our â€œhome away from homeâ€ when we have had to start life over again, and again.
They need us to show them the “new normal.”
They need us now. To show them how to navigate their â€œnew normal.â€
- Facetime to connect with loved ones.
- The fear that strikes their heart with every news release, phone call, and knocks on the door.
Itâ€™s our time to show them how to weather this storm. Itâ€™s our time to spread kindness, support, and hope.Â
How our military spouse community inspire our nation during COVID-19
The silver lining in all of this for our families, despite the separations, the hardships, and the inconveniences is a steady paycheck.
As inefficient as it may seem at times (our community still deals with food insecurity at an astronomical rate), we are doing better than some right now. With that being said, letâ€™s remember:
- The companies that donated to our last family readiness activity.
- Those local stores and shops that support our childâ€™s little league team.
- Letâ€™s remember the companies that have committed to hiring our veterans and military spouses during the last few years.
- The neighbor that was always there no matter what.
- The teacher that helped your military child feel accepted and loved during a mid-year PCS.
Letâ€™s be givers
Smile and thank the grocery store clerk for their service, or the kid that delivers your Uber Eats meal.
Help a nation of civilians that are scared, lonely, and hopeless feel seenâ€¦ feel appreciated. Allowing them to understand first hand our reality while extending the grace that they have extended us for so long.
Lead by example, with love, and with compassion. Help our nation, our world, to remember what our community has known all along.Â There is more that unites us than there is that divides us, we are all in this together.Â
Mrs. Erika Hope Bradley is an Employment Specialist for Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN), two unique nonprofit organizations that provide no-cost employment placement solutions and financial health training for all honorably discharged service members (active duty, Reserves, and National Guard), veterans, military spouses, and caregivers of war-wounded.
Erika has a background in healthcare and social work, as well as over 7 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, serving our military community. As an exceptional communicator, empathizer, and nonprofit leader, she has utilized her abilities in social media marketing as a community advocate, and remote content creator to develop meaningful relationships a create impact as a Spouse Influencer. This experience and education have prepared her well for her current role as an Employment Specialist with CASY & MSCCN, and she looks forward to further serving her community.Â
Erika is an active duty Navy wife of over 11 years, as was recently named a finalist for â€œMilitary Spouse of the Yearâ€ for Naval Base San Diego, where she has volunteered within the community extensively for the last 2 years. She has served as a command ombudsman, serves as a digital content creation contributor for several military publications. Was named a finalist for Military Spouse Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, and has received Congressional Achievement awards for â€œOutstanding Community Service.â€Â Â
You can find Erika on social at Dependa Strong, where she is the co-founder.
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