15 military spouses who have made a difference

Claudia greets her husband, Lt. Col. Gary Symon, 71st Rescue Squadron (RQS) commander, during a redeployment, Oct. 6, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Airmen from the 71st RQS supported deployed operations by providing expeditionary personnel with on-call recovery forces should they need rescued.

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Claudia greets her husband, Lt. Col. Gary Symon, 71st Rescue Squadron (RQS) commander, during a redeployment, Oct. 6, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Airmen from the 71st RQS supported deployed operations by providing expeditionary personnel with on-call recovery forces should they need rescued.
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US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Snider
  • Beside most members of the military is a spouse who keeps life going while their partner serves.
  • While every military family serves their country with pride, some military spouses go above and beyond to help their communities.
  • In honor of National Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we’re honoring 15 spouses who have made a difference.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Military spouses often go above and beyond to support their families and communities while their partner serves.

In honor of National Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we’re honoring military spouses who have helped their communities through volunteer work, entrepreneurship, and personal sacrifice.

Here are 15 military spouses who have made a difference.


Holly Vega

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Holly Vega
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C. Todd Lopez/US Department of Defense

Holly Vega has been a Marine Corps spouse for 19 years, and was named the 2019 Armed Forces Insurance “Military Spouse of the Year” for her volunteerism and passion to help other military families.

To support education for military children, Vega volunteers for the “Purple Up! For Military Kids” program, and is a co-leader for the Military Kids Club at Lithia Elementary School.

She also works part-time for Military Home Base, a program that provides educational opportunities and services to help military families transition duty stations. Vega also serves as co-leader and Heart Healthy Advocate for Military Hearts Matter, all while balancing work as a full-time student at Park University.


David Carrera

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David Carrera
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Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year/YouTube

David Carrera is a Navy spouse, male military spouse advocate, and local volunteer at his wife’s duty station in Okinawa, Japan.

Carrera has been a military spouse for 11 years, and has made it a priority to help other male military spouses assimilate and adjust to life. He is an active member of the Facebook group Mandepenent, which provides male spouses emotional support and opportunities to find work.

He notes that male spouses are often overlooked by mainstream military spouse groups, and has dedicated his time to celebrating the role. He was nominated for the 2020 Armed Forces Insurance “Military Spouse of the Year” award.


Taya Kyle

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Taya Kyle, wife of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, testifies during the murder trial of former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh in Stephenville, Texas, on February 11, 2015.
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Tom Fox/Reuters

Taya Kyle, the widow of Navy SEAL and most lethal sniper in US history Chris Kyle, has been an advocate since her husband was killed in 2013.

In 2014, she started the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation with the goal of connecting military families and veterans, and providing interactive experiences to enrich family relationships.

Kaya is also a New York Times bestselling author of the book “American Wife.” Her most recent work titled “American Spirit” was released in 2019, and contains a collection of short stories highlighting inspirational Americans she’s met through her travels.

Kyle and her husband’s story became the subject of the Academy Award-nominated film “American Sniper”.


Tiffany Smiley

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Scotty Smiley

Tiffany Smiley’s husband, Army Major Scott Smiley, served in Iraq for six months until a car bomb in Mosul sent shrapnel into his eyes that would leave him blind for the rest of his life.

As an advocate for the power of military spouses, Tiffany speaks around the country to raise awareness about issues surrounding military members and their spouses.

In 2010, Tiffany and her husband published a book, “Hope Unseen,” based on their experiences as a military family. Among her engagements, Tiffany has met with Ivanka Trump to push for legislation supporting military families and spoke at a bank-run event about how and why companies should recruit veterans.


Jeremy Hilton

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Jeremy Hilton with his family.
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The “Today” Show

Jeremy and Renae Hilton were once both active members of the military, but when their daughter was born with special needs 17 years ago, Jeremy decided to stay home and provide full-time care.

In 2012, he was recognized as the first male military spouse to receive the Armed Forces Insurance “Military Spouse of the Year” award. Hilton has also become a published author, and has provided briefings to the Congressional Military Family Caucus and a variety of congressional committees.

In 2013, Hilton helped repeal military budget cuts through a social media campaign #KeepYourPromise, and he also works to reform military pediatric healthcare as a champion for TRICARE for Kids.


Krystel Spell

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StreetShares

As the wife of an enlisted member of the Army, Kyrstel Spell had always wanted to share her experiences as a military spouse with others. Now, she has become a popular voice in the military blogging world.

Spell launched three sites: Army Wife 101, to cover military lifestyle, travel, and parenting; Retail Salute, to gather military discounts in one place; and SoFluential, to connect influencers from military families with businesses looking to hire them.


Amanda Crowe

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Amanda Patterson Crowe was formally the senior manager for the Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program and a director of the Military Spouse Professional Network for Hiring Our Heroes, a program funded by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Crowe managed more than 40 chapters focused on career development and networking opportunities for military spouses in communities around the world. She also ran AMPLIFY, two-day career events for military spouses.

Amanda currently works for Wittenberg Weiner Consulting, a woman-owned consulting firm with military-connected employees.


Stephanie Brown

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The Rosie Network

Stephanie Brown is the wife of retired Navy Admiral R. Thomas L. Brown, who was a SEAL.

Brown, who has spent over 20 years supporting military families, veterans, and wounded warriors, started Rosie’s List when she was trying to find a contractor to repair her family’s home.

Brown wanted to hire a veteran, but was having trouble finding one on existing search sites, so she decided to create a database for the public to access businesses owned by military families. She also formed The Rosie Network, which provides training and mentorship programs for veteran or military spouse business owners and entrepreneurs.


Leigh Searl

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NextGen MilSpouse

In 15 years as a military spouse, Leigh Searl moved 11 times. Each time, she had to reinvent herself and find new jobs along the way.

So she created America’s Career Force, a program to help military spouses find long-term career opportunities that they can work remotely. That way, they can keep their jobs no matter where the location may be – as long as they have access to a phone and internet.


Sue Hoppin

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National Military Spouse Network

Sue Hoppin is the military spouse of an Air Force officer and who has dedicated her career to advocating for military families.

She started the National Military Spouse Network after spending much of her life volunteering in the military community instead of establishing her own career. The site provides military spouses with networking, mentoring, and professional development opportunities.

Hoppin’s work has led her to become a consultant on military family issues, and she even co-authored a “for Dummies” book on “A Family’s Guide to the Military.”


Amy Crispino

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StreetShares

Amy Crispino, a member of an Army family, is the co-owner of Chameleon Kids and managing director of Military Kids’ Life Magazine.

The magazine, which kids write half of the articles for, aims to help military children see past the challenges of growing up in a military family to focus on the bright side.


Elizabeth Boardman

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Milspo Project

As the spouse of a Naval officer, Elizabeth Boardman believed that the best way to further her career was by starting her own business, the Milspo Project.

The organization provides networking resources for military spouse entrepreneurs to help them build their own businesses, and connect with other professionals.

Some of the resources include monthly member meet-ups and online workshops. Since their membership program launched in 2016, Milspo Project has helped over 450 military spouses start and grow their own businesses.

Their mission is to get 10,001 military spouses to launch and profit from their own businesses by 2024.


Krista Wells

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Krista Wells
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Wells Consulting Services, LLC

Marine Corps spouse Krista Wells has put her skills as a life consultant and career coach to work helping out other military families.

She launched Wells Consulting Services to help military spouses who struggle with the challenges of constantly moving and establishing a career.

As a military spouse coach, Wells also created The Military Spouse Show podcast to help fellow spouses overcome the obstacles of being in a military family.


Chris Pape

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Chris Pape
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Macho Spouse/YouTube

When Chris Pape couldn’t find the support he needed as a male military spouse, he decided to create the website Macho Spouse, an online resource for male spouses and their families.

Macho Spouse offers male military spouses videos and resources on career networking, relationship guidance, family support, and entrepreneurial guidance. He was named the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Air Force Spouse of the Year.


Brooke Jones-Chinetti

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Brooke Jones-Chinetti

Brooke Jones-Chinetti entered the career force of the military as a service member after graduating from West Point Military Academy. She met her husband in the Army, but after marrying she began to transition away from her service.

Through that process, Brooke found herself missing the sense of closeness and mentorship provided to her as a member of the military – so she decided to develop Your Sequel, an online platform that helps female veterans receive mentorship and networking resources.