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“Despite the distance, our hearts remain side-by-side.”
Meet Melody. She served in the Army for 10 years as a linguist, specializing in Arabic. During that time she experienced deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant, and PCSed five times. She met her husband at an Army duty station while he was working as support staff. Of course she was well-accustomed to the military lifestyle when they got married shortly after they met. But she faced a transition that not many spouses do. She was going from Staff Sergeant Dolmer to Staff Sergeant Dolmer’s wife. No longer did she hold her rank, and instead had to transition to a support role. She noted the difference in lifestyle from the other side of the relationship. It had always been really easy to make friends while she was active duty, but it didn’t come as naturally as a spouse. She realized she had to really put herself out there to find friends that shared her same attitudes and values.
She is momma to her three children, Joseph, Justin, and Courtney. They are all very active and she manages to keep up with school functions and sports for them, as well as all of her extracurricular activities…on top of her full-time job! As she was telling me all of the organizations and activities they were involved in, I was baffled at how she kept it all straight, especially when her husband is deployed!
Melody has a servant’s heart. When she parted ways from the Army, it was a difficult transition, but she began a job as a SAPR (Sexual Assault Prevention & Response) coordinator for all of 29 Palms. It began tearing her apart…the stress of low conviction rates plagued her life. She knew she must get out of it, and their PCS to Camp Lejeune came at just the right time. She has now started a new job that is much more uplifting here at Lejeune. She is an “Embedded Preventative Behavioral Health Capability Prevention Specialist.” That’s a mouthful! Essentially it means she takes risk indicators and evaluates how likely a Marine or group of Marines is to involve themselves in risky behavior (DUIs, speeding tickets, substance abuse, suicide, etc.), then refers resources to the command to try to prevent these things from occurring.
She attributes a lot of her happiness to the spouses’ kickball league that she has been participating in. Spouses are on teams according to their husband’s unit, so especially during deployments, this consistent group of women to come together with three times a week is a good way to build community. Her other piece of advice to spouses with deployed military members is to look into Walmart grocery pickup. She reports that it is convenient (especially for those with littles) and it also helps them stick to a budget because you aren’t tempted to put those Oreos in your cart on the cookie aisle!
One of the traditions they have started as a military family is to take one big trip each year and they count that as their Christmas gifts to each other. She mentioned that often times her kids can’t remember which gifts they received which year, but they can remember experiences they have had together for Christmas. They did Universal Studios this past year and are planning Iceland for 2018 and Poland for 2019! My husband may not know it yet, but I think this may be a tradition we will be adopting as well! As she put it, sometimes time with your spouse and family is hard to come by in this lifestyle…so what better than the gift of quality time with those that you love?
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