Hello everyone! I know you might have seen me posting about this on Facebook and Twitter, but I wanted to go into a little more detail on the blog as well. I recently had the honor of being nominated as Armed Forces Insurances’ Military Spouse of the Year. It would be such a privelege to represent the National Guard as the 2015 MSOY (Military Spouse of the Year), but I need your help!
Today and TODAY ONLY is Round One of voting. Voting is currently taking place, and ends at 11:59pm EST on January 21st (yes, today)! Here is a direct link to my profile where you can vote. If for some reason you cannot find my profile, please enter “Ashley Ella” in the search box.
Here is a summary of the questions they asked me, in addition to my answers:
Tell us a little about you: I’m a business owner here in Oregon (I appraise commercial agricultural properties with a focus on vineyards and wineries). However, my family always comes first, and I’m the proud spouse of a National Guard soldier. When my husband is not serving the National Guard, he is a full-time state trooper – making me a Mil Spouse by weekend (and trainings and deployments) and an LEO Wife the rest of the time. Needless to say, bullet proof vests / life-style are a part of our every day life. I’m also a mom to a beautiful three year old daughter and am currently working on writing my first book about the unique challenges of being a spouse of a National Guard soldier.
Hobbies: I love traveling (a lot) – if I’m not flying or traveling at least three to four times a year I go stir crazy! I’m also an entrepreneur (which is kind of a hobby, right?) – I’ve started two companies, own a rental property, I’ve been involved with three direct marketing companies, and am currently writing my first book. Hobbies also include volunteering where my passions lie at that time in my life. In regard to the military, I’m recently started a blog to reach out to fellow “part-time” military spouses. I am also pursuing my love for writing by starting my first book. The purpose of the book is to speak to the emotional challenges that come with being a part time military spouse, and how to survive both deployment AND the civilian world.
Share something funny/random/interesting about you: The last time my husband deployed, I dropped him off at the airport, went into work, and got laid off. I was staring down a scary, lonely journey and I had no idea what I was going to do. So, I decided to pursue one of my hobbies at that time (weddings), and started my own wedding coordination company. Within a short time, it became an award winning company numerous years. I was blessed to meet amazing couples, but most importantly I proved to myself that no matter what life could throw at me – I would over come it.
What is something you’ve learned from being a military spouse? I’ve learned so much – that I’ve decided to put it all in a book. I want others in similar situations to know that they are not alone, that their struggles matter, that they are loved, and that they are a crucial part of supporting the US Armed Forces. In very short summary, I have learned that I am strong, committed, brave, compassionate, sensitive, emotional, and driven. And, I have a mission: to help my fellow part-time military spouses survive their deployments AND life in the civilian world.
In your opinion, what is one of the most important issues facing military families? I continually see, read, and talk with fellow military families, and they feel that their sacrifices aren’t taken seriously. There was a sense of unity directly after 9/11, however some of that has started to fall to the way side as the war(s) continue on. I think it is important to bring to the attention of all Americans, that no matter the war, no matter the circumstances, no matter political preferences, soldiers of the US Armed Forces make the decision to fight for what they believe in – and their families sacrifice along side them.
In your opinion, what is one of the best aspects of being in a military family? One of the best aspects of being in a military family is the sense of unity and strength that few people will ever understand. To having someone you love knowingly and voluntarily stand up, raise their hand, and say “me, send me.” I didn’t understand this call to action that my husband has always had until we went to Ground Zero together just two weeks before his first deployment. There was no monument. There was no calm. It was chaos, it was destruction, it was pain. But the man holding my hand was willing to fight for those people, fight for their families, fight for their memories. And now? So was I. Through his first deployment (and now going through our second), I don’t look at being a military family as a burden – I look at it as being a blessing. After the first deployment, each hug meant more. Each kiss meant more. Every second with the one I love meant more – this was a lesson I feel that people spend a lifetime trying to figure out. We were blessed to learn it in our first year of marriage.
What is one thing you would want to accomplish with the MSOY title? I want to bring more recognition and understanding to the unique challenges of being a National Guard (army, air, or reserve) military spouse. These spouses are typically in communities that do not understand the military way of life nor the sacrifices that come along with it. Even amongst the military community, I want all of the branches to work in unity – they serve the same nation. They serve the same people. They serve you. They serve me. Army National Guard families, and other part-time military families, are often the “forgotten” ones. We’re looked at just as the “weekend warriors.” However, we’re just as much a part of serving this nation as any other branch. The Army cannot do it on their own. The Marines cannot do it on their own. The Air Force cannot do it on their own. The Navy cannot do it on their own. The Coast Guard cannot do it on their own. They must work in unity, in oneness. They are equal. Every day they serve, we serve. Even if only serving on “the weekends,” they are always ready for the call. The motto of the National Guard is even “Always Ready, Always There.” Well, as spouses we have to also be “always ready, always there” when duty calls. I want fellow Part-Time military families and spouses to know that they are heard, they are not alone, and that their sacrifices matter.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this great honor. In order to advance to the national round (18 total candidates – three from each branch of the military) – I need your help! I truly appreciate you taking a moment out of your day to support me in this process. Please forward this link to friends and family. Thank you very much!