“Despite the distance, we were not worried about easy because we don’t do anything easy; we just knew that no matter the distance, we are always better together so together we shall be.”
Meet Tiffany. She grew up in an Army family, so the military lifestyle was nothing new to her when she fell in love with her Marine. However, experiencing military life from a spouse’s perspective is different than experiencing from a child’s perspective. Tiffany and her Marine are newlyweds—married on April 21st of this year. However, as she said before, nothing has been easy for them.
Tiffany had been living in their new home in northern Virginia for just two months when Nate, her boyfriend at the time, received orders to Fort Leonard Wood (aka “Fort Lost in the Woods”) and had to report in 60 days. Just when they were settling in, they were being uprooted. Instead of immediately getting married, they decided to become a long distance couple so that she could keep her marketing job…and it was simply what was right for them at that time. Tiffany found the beauty in this seemingly impossible situation, however; as she put it, “We spent hours on the phone each night, probably talking more than we would have if we were living under the same roof. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” After two years of traveling 14 hours by way of trains, planes, and automobiles (literally and that was only one way!) every two to three months, they were finally able to be reunited—Nate and his two kids were coming back to the east coast! However, he wasn’t returning to northern Virginia, but to Camp Lejeune.
Now came the time for Tiffany to uproot the career she had so masterfully established. She packed up all her belongings and drove down to Camp Lejeune to find out that the house she was about to rent was condemned due to mold…exactly what you want to hear when you are seven hours from your old “home” with all your belongings in tow and waiting for Hurricane Matthew to make landfall. Thankfully, she had friends in swampy places and could stay with a friend and her newborn for a few days before finding the home they are currently inhabiting.
After her experience of having to move and uproot her career, she identifies with a struggle that many military spouses experience—finding a new job, in her field, in a new geographical area, every three years. Despite that challenge, she has flourished. Her first goal when she moved here was to “find her tribe.” When she said that, it spoke straight to my military spouse heart. While each duty station is different, it is possible to find friends in the same field, in the same place in life, struggling (or succeeding) with the same issues. She stressed that her tribe helped her adjust to a major life change. And she did indeed find her tribe (or six tribes!).
Tiffany is a warrior for the military spouse kind. She is involved in several non-profits that benefit military spouses, members, and veterans. MadSkills is an online-based company that focuses on finding online employment for military spouses to ease the burden of finding a new brick-and-mortar job at each duty station. They facilitate virtual interviews between prospective companies and military spouses, then serve as an additional layer of support for the spouse throughout the time they are employed with that company. How incredible that Tiffany took an issue she had and turned it into a position where she could help others overcome that very problem.
Team RWB (Red, White, and Blue) is a non-profit organization where Tiffany volunteers. It is meant to provide physical and social support for military veterans once the leave the military and start their lives in the civilian world. Even her two children get involved in volunteering for this organization. Tiffany has just recently become an Eagle Leader Fellow for the year of 2018; this is a prestigious fellowship that she is able to use to give back to the organization in the form of bringing in new ideas and spearheading the execution of those ideas to benefit United States military veterans.
Lastly, although she does not work at Milspo Project anymore, she contributed to this wonderful non-profit as well. The mission of the Milspo Project is to encourage, help, and guide military spouses through the process of starting their own businesses. Any of you entrepreneur spouses…listen up! So many useful resources are available through this organization (seminars, print resources, fellowship, guidance)—and all geared specifically towards military spouses.
Amidst all of this, Tiffany still free lances in marketing, loves and supports her Marine, raises her two “bonus children” as she so lovingly named them (step children sounds too impersonal for their sweet relationship), loves her adopted puppy, Oakley, and is becoming a yoga instructor.
Seriously…this woman is a powerhouse, and I am so proud to say I know someone who fights for military spouses every day.
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