Committment to Helping Others
I had been unemployed since 2008 and remained active both mentally and professionally through volunteering. I started my volunteer endeavors with the 230th Financial Management Company serving as the units Family Readiness Group Leader. The more I did for the unit and it’s families I realized that more could be done to help others, which is why I started volunteering with the RED CROSS and Army Community Services. I have served as a volunteer in many different roles, but enjoy most taking care of Soldiers and their families at the Soldier and Family Assistance Center (Supporting Wounded Warriors and families in transition).
Volunteering has been second nature to me since arriving to Fort Carson, CO. I have contributed and participated in events sponsored by the Goodwill and other organizations that assist our country’s Veterans on multiple occasions. I played an active part in the success of the first annual Wounded Warrior Games, as well as Operation Good Samaritan. While volunteering I have tallied more than 2500 volunteer hours towards helping Warriors and their families. I was selected in 2008 to represent Fort Carson and attended the National AUSA Family Readiness Symposium in Washington, DC; I have been fortunate to have been recognized by the Installation Commander in 2008 as a Volunteer of the Year; and again in 2009 receiving the Exemplary Volunteer Service Award on Fort Carson. In May 2011, I was awarded the Columbine Volunteer Award of Excellence by the Commanding General of the 4TH Infantry Division.
Military spouses are often not recognized for their contributions to the Warriors they support. As a military spouse, I believe the role is very important. We assist in maintaining households and ensuring that things run smoothly while our Warriors are training and are deployed abroad. Our professional and educational skills often go unrecognized and are often passed over for jobs because of a stigma “they are military and may not be here very long”! This makes finding employment very difficult. Though I have remained dedicated over the years through volunteering I often became discouraged due to the recent decline in today’s job market and lack of support for military spouses. The continuous support and reassurance from my husband, family and friends enabled me to remain hopeful.
Finally!!! Through the resources and outreach provided by OPM, I became aware of an Internship that could assist military spouses in their employment endeavors. The OPM Veterans Services Representative at Fort Carson (Ms. Shelley Anderson) was extremely helpful and provided guidance throughout the entire process. She was very supportive and always willing to assist. After years of helping others, I was delighted that someone was willing to help me. She provided knowledge and guidance through the entire process. Her optimism gave me hope, I applied, and today I am a federal employee of the US. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)!
Kudos: to OPM for pushing this initiative and to the Human Capital Division at DHHS for hiring one of the first military spouses under this special hiring authority. I am blessed and extremely excited to have been selected to serve in a federal position. This program works and assistance is there…Remain Hopeful and Preserve!