How do we bridge the gap between service members and civilians? One way to do this is through the work Kathy Gallowitz is doing by helping teach civilians to be veteran champions. But this work actually goes beyond reaching civilians. Military members also need to be willing to connect with civilians too.
Kathy served in the Air Force for 29 years. She served on active duty, in the Reserves and National Guard. She also was a military spouse. The led to the challenge of continually moving throughout her career as she followed her now ex-husband's military career. It was challenging.
She served six years on active duty. Quickly realizing with both her and her spouse serving it would be challenging to both serve on active duty. She decided to transfer to the Reserves which was great because it kept her connected, but still caused a lot of planning and coordination. She never deployed overseas but was assigned to backfill various roles and worked to ensure her family was taken care of while she continued to serve.
But it was hard to rebuild a community with each new assignment. Not only was she working to support her family. She also needed to fit in her new assignment. Continually being the new person filling the role needed.
When her husband retired they were able to start a business and life in Ohio and she began to realize how different her life was from her neighbors. At forty a friend died in an accident and at the funeral, she realized she hadn't been to a funeral for most of her adult life. She was disconnected from her community.
She took a role at the Ohio National Guard community outreach program. As she began to work with the community she realized there was a valuable tool not being used by the military. The civilian community. That is why she wrote her book and why she created Vanguard Veteran. The work she does to help connect the civilian community and the military is helping to bridge the gap between those communities.
add program she talked about, in text
Beyond Thank You for Your Service (affiliate link)
The Stories of Military Women and Veterans - Episode 115
Being an AF nurse - Episode 41
Serving in the Reserves Might Not Be What You Expect - Episode 102
Check out the full transcript here.
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Welcome to Episode 141 of the women of the military podcast. This week is week two of the women veteran author series that I'm doing for the summer. Cathy wrote the book beyond thank you for your service. And she did that book to help bridge the gap between servicemembers and civilians, and she is doing a lot of work to help teach civilians to be veteran champions. And I thought it was an interesting approach because so often the military community can turn into a self licking ice cream cone, and not rely on the civilian population that can help military families and veterans. So I'm excited to share her book and to share about her story of being in the Air Force and what she's doing today. So let's get started. You're listening to season three of the women on the military podcast. Here you will find the real stories of female service members. I'm Amanda Huffman, I am an Air Force veteran, military, spouse and mom. I created women in the military podcast in 2019. As a place to share the stories of female service members past and present, with the goal of finding the heart of the story, while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world. Keep tuned for this latest episode of women on the military. I'm excited to have you back.
Hi, there. Me too. Amanda, good to see you again.
Yeah, your episode, actually, that the author episode came out today while we were recording this, and I should have wrote the number down now I'm blanking. But I'm just really excited to have you back to talk about your military story, because we talked about your book, which I have beyond thank you for your service. But now we get to talk a little bit more about your military experience in the Air Force.
Great. Can't wait. Thank you for taking interest.
So let's start with why did you decide to join the military?
So Amanda, I grew up in a Navy family, an active duty family. My father was a career pilot and communications engineer. So you know, I grew up with a huge appreciation for my country for military service. And I just really wanted to serve. And so that was the primary reason I served. But the other thing that drew me to military service was the focus on leadership, education, physical fitness. The diversity of the organization was something I wanted to be a part of, you know, and I just tell people, you know, since a kid I've had red, white and blue coursing through my veins,
and you said Navy family, but you ended up serving in the Air Force, right?
Yeah. How about that? My dad was pretty, pretty good about it. And actually, my brother went to the Naval Academy. The reason I ended up in the air force was because, you know, I looked at all the services, but the Air Force had for nurses. The Air Force had a six month rotational program at Wilford Hall at the time, the largest hospital in the airforce. And that gave me an opportunity to strengthen my nursing skills and try to figure out where I wanted to work. And oh, by the way, I got promoted in two years. So there was just a lot of advantages to join the Air Force. And I want to say that, you know, my dad paid for nursing school. So Air Force nursing was really my first choice career.
That's awesome. And so you had your degree in nursing, and you said the Air Force looks like the best place so I'm going to go there. So did you go to Wilford Hall first?
Yep. I was at Wilford Hall actually twice. I was there for the first I guess two years or so. And as the story goes, I met my husband and Air Force physician, he and I ended up getting a joint spouse in England and then he got accepted into an orthopedic surgery residency back at Wilford Hall. So of course, that's for I ended up again and back Dame unit, and I was an assistant charge nurse and stay there till about 1986 I think it was until I decided to get off active duty.
So how long were you guys in England before you came back to the States.
I was at Lakenheath and he was at bentwaters. So you know, we did the going opposite directions and I was working nights and weekends and he was working days with weekends off, you know, the typical joint spouse sort of assignment but we were there about two and a half years lived out on a 400 year old cottage right next to a soybean field. My name is just a great experience. We had to heat this place with coal. So I'd come home after a 12 hour shift and forth 45 minute commute, right? And I'd have to go out there and shovel the coal into the furnace to heat the house. And you know, I drove the car with the steering wheel on the wrong side, if
but it was, you know, that was a great experience. We traveled a lot. And you know, I was a postpartum nurse and l&d nurse labor and delivery during that time.
Is it normal that nurses switch around from the different specialties throughout their career?
Absolutely it Wilford Hall, I was in a step down ICU. And then I was in a labor and delivery nurse. It's really all about, you know, the needs at the time. And I think oftentimes, they try to leverage your skill set in other clinical areas, but there wasn't the step down, I see you at like an eighth. And I really wanted to do labor and delivery. So that was really fun.
Yeah, that's, that's kind of interesting that you got to do like, all the different types of Mama, was it all or just different?
Well, and that's really not another strong point for not only nursing, but military service, because, you know, that's what drew me to nursing in the first place, I wanted to serve people help people, but I also like the idea of being able to be outside a hospital, inside a hospital in all different kinds of clinical settings. And then, you know, in the military, I could move live lots of different places have a lot of varied experiences, you know, kind of keep my seniority and, and kind of move up in the organization. So, you know, nursing and military service, were just a great combination for just, you know, having a lot of different experiences, traveling, meeting a lot of great people, and, you know, learning how to how to lead people and you know, get better myself, if you will,
yeah, I was helping a young lady who was looking into the military, and we were talking about civil engineering, and she's like, it's so boring. I just sit behind the desk. And I was like, yeah, that's not the way it will be in the military. I was like, you should, it's really different. You get to go out. And it's similar. You get to do all these things, and move around and see all this different stuff. And it's just a whole new experience.
Well, the other thing that, you know, I just was really excited about similar to your, you know, sort of field experience as a civil engineer. Once I got off active duty, I joined a mash unit, a mobile air staging hospital, I think that's the acronym. And our goal was to go out to the field and set up a staging facility where we prepared patients for flight, right, so that they could be traveled back in the aeromedical evacuation system to the next epsilon of care. And then we also had flight nurses in the unit. This was it, Kelly. And so I always wanted to be a flight nurse. So you kidding. And so at the 32nd aeromedical evacuation group, I was able to do both. And you know, I mean, that's just a great experience.
Yeah, sounds really cool. And so did you go to the reserves or national guard?
Okay, so I've, I've done one of each really, so I was six years active. I don't even know how many years reserve. I mean, I kind of lose track, maybe eight in the Air Force Reserve. That's when I was in the 32nd. To Kelly. And then I joined the Ohio National Guard and spent the lion's share of my career in the Ohio National Guard, as a public affairs officer,
oh, nurse, right.
I went from nursing, to being a public health officer to public affairs. And, you know, really, you know, because this is a podcast about women. The common theme for me was to try to manage my marriage and my career, I really, really always wanted to have a full military career that was just really important for for me from from day one. I had aspirations of being even trying to be chief for the NURSE Corps. Well, then I met and married a guy who became a surgeon, right, and, you know, with the rotating shifts of, you know, nursing and medicine and a surgical residency, I mean, it just wasn't going to work. So it just about broke my heart where honestly, when I chose to get off active duty, but from there, and I'll just say it bluntly, frankly, you know, he was going to be able to make more money for our family than I was. So it made sense for his career to kind of the leader in the family. But throughout that I always, always kind of kept a toe in if you will, in military service, because I just didn't want to give it up but balancing my military love aspiration desires with my desire also, and I know you can relate to this, your desire also, to be a good wife and a mother was really very difficult for me. I married a guy who had a really traditional view on roles of women. kind of ironic. Though, you know, because, you know, we met when we were both in the Air Force and that wasn't necessarily a traditional role, right? I mean, it wasn't probably, I mean, it was a challenge. Needless to say, I, I'm now married to a different guy, right. But the reason I left active duty went into the reserve and guard was so that I could have a little bit more control over where I worked, when I moved and what I did. So
did you have kids when you decided to make that transition? No, I
got off active duty. I was in grad school. And then we had children, I now have three sons, I have three sons with this guy, this surgeon I met, we were married for 18 years, you know, but if it was challenging, I would have stayed in the relationship been good. But you know, the relationship did not work well. And, you know, sometimes people would say, Well, did it not work well, because of the military. And I say to you, and, oh, it didn't work well, from the get go because of our interactions. And frankly, you know, because he had some, some real challenges that he wasn't dealing with.
It's interesting that you could see how challenging it would be to be mil to mil, and have a family even before that was what I had a similar thing. I was like, I got pregnant, and then I got out, because I was like, this is all great and fun. But when we have kids, life's gonna get a lot more complicated. And I don't want to be a mom with kids and you live in one place and we live. It's just like, yeah,
it was, it was so challenging for me just to be kind of a stay at home mom, when he was in a surgical residency I could have. I mean, I was in grad school, you know, it was hard to be a new mom. And, you know, my spouse was on call every other night in the hospital and not a very happy guy. And so, you know, it just would have really not worked at all, with with, you know, kind of missing each other all the time. But you know, honestly, Amanda, I know that it can work if you have the right partnership, the right communication skills, the right support for each other, I have dear, dear nursing friends that made it work male to male, but they were a part like half of their career, you know, and they had children, but they were able to make it work. And I tell you what, I tip my hats to them. And I kind of wish I had been one of those people. But I wasn't, and yet, I served 29 years, and I'm very excited and proud of what I was able to do, you know, during that timeframe. And, you know, I encourage anyone who would like to be in military service to do it, because it's a great opportunity, a lot of fun, a lot of great learning and great way to serve. And you can balance it, but you have to have the right partner.
Yeah, and i i agree with the communication being so important, because I think that was one of the reasons why my husband and I decided that I was gonna get out was because we communicated. And we're like, well, we could do this, but I don't think we want to. And I think that is like a personal choice. Sometimes people try and project their choice on to you. But it has to be a personal choice. And you have to do what's right for you and your family. And if you serve mellonella, even if you're separated, like and you do it, but that's your happy, then that's great. But if you decide to get out, because you don't want to do that, then that's great, too. And I think I think both sides are admirable for the choices that they make. I mean, you still serve in the military, which most of the country doesn't do. Absolutely. And yeah,
and you know, I gotta say, I spent most of my career in the reserve component, I was only active for six of my 29 years. Right. And I tell you, it's no easy feat to have a full time job and work one weekend, a month and have a family. All right, you know, I think roles in the family are shifting, and that men are if you will, sharing more and so some of the domestic roles, I think there is that, you know, some of that is happening and more and more women are working, but it's complex. And and it's it's pretty tiring. So again, it just requires a lot of good communication planning, and in partnership to make it work.
Yeah, that's so true. Yeah. So let's get back to your career. I want to learn more about your the match unit, because that sounds really fun. We'll go back there and then we'll keep going through your career. We kind of got on our tangent. What exactly were you guys doing? Who were the people that you were getting ready because it sounded when you first started talking. I was like, Oh, you were overseas and you were help but it was at Kelly. So I'm Like, no, that's not right. Okay,
so one of the distinctions of my military career is that I have not been deployed into a field of into an area of conflict I have not done that I've trained mostly so when I was at the 32nd it Kelly Air Force Base, I don't know, maybe three and a half years, something like that. It was mostly training out in the terrible, terrible heat in San Antonio, Texas, setting up tents and, you know, lifting the litters and, you know, doing circles, takeoffs and landings to just just for training purposes, I did have an opportunity during Operation just cause to help triage incoming wounded at Kelly who were being transferred to Wilford hall for further care, my child was six months old. And again, my husband was, you know, in the operating room as an orthopedic surgeon, and I was breastfeeding my baby. And you know, I wanted nothing more Amanda, I'll tell you, as a as a, as an officer, as a girl, as a woman, I wanted nothing more than to go do my part and fly down to Panama, pick up wounded and bring them home. But instead, I went to my commander, and I said, You know what, I will work my butt off if you assigned me here to help triage because, you know, my spouse is pretty much unavailable. And we have a six month old baby and so she was willing to work with me so that I could, you know, it was essentially a active duty orders probably for five days or something. That was the experience there. And then, when saddam invaded Kuwait, I was also deployed out of a base at March Air Force Base as a clinical nurse to go backfill some active duty nurses. So I was there at knob, noster Air Force Base and white men and white men, I think it was in Missouri, right. And so I was a labor and delivery, the labor and delivery nurse there for 30 days. And so you know, I brought my 18 month old with me, I brought my nanny with me. And we stayed in a Bo queue for all that time, the three of us it was the got my baby got crew, you know, so but I've not been to Iraq or Afghanistan. And, you know, my jobs were by my mission, my personal mission was to work tirelessly at home to make things as good as possible for my brothers and sisters in arms, who were really doing the nation's. And that's what I did, as the Director of Community Outreach for the Ohio National Guard.
Yeah. And the backfilling at the basis is so important, because we need the nurses for the families, especially for labor and delivery, you need a nurse to be there, they're, they're kind of essential when you're delivering a baby. So I think that's an important role that some people don't know about. Because a lot of my husband's career field has, I amaze and they always go and like backfill different things. And,
and so there are also i amaze for nurses, I was an ima at Wright Patterson Air Force Base when I was pregnant with my third child. So you see this theme running through everything, you know, all my decisions kind of revolved around how do I serve and continue to take care of my of my family. Another big event in our lives, I was, I think I was I had like a seven year break in service because we were moving and, and tragically, our middle son got leukemia. And so I was like, oh, okay, I need to really pay attention to this. And so I did not serve while we were taking care of him for like four years to make sure he stayed in in remission. But, you know, so honestly, I did the best I could to maintain my career, you know, pivot and turn and duck and turn, you know, based on all the challenges of life and the opportunities that there were, you know, finally, finally, finally, Amanda, I was in the right place at the right time with a reputation a skill set, and, you know, a heart for a job to be the director of community outreach for the Ohio National Guard. So everything kind of came together for me in 2009, when this position was created for me to do this, and so everything kind of made sense at that point, because, you know, I'd been a military dependent I'd been in the reserves the guard active duty, I moved a lot. I had knowledge about the Navy, I met an army guy, you know, and so I had, you know, a lot of broad view that I could translate into my outreach role. So, you know, how we, you know, kind of pivot and turn and pivot and turn in life. I'm just glad I was able to, you know, serve the whole time. But but but, but all these pivots and turns didn't help me, you know, reach the highest pinnacles of my military career. I had to make a lot of personal choices that were the right choices, but they were difficult choices too. to, you know, understand the big picture and make decisions accordingly that I felt okay wish.
Yeah, that's a really good point, especially with like dual military couples, or even if you have a military spouse or a military family and like your family needs you to go somewhere, that's better for them. You have to make those sacrifices to help your family. And I think that and it can hurt your career. It's not always like, oh, everything will be fine. It doesn't matter where I go, or what I do, it's always
a decision. Yeah. So so you know, really understanding the big picture and understanding your values, right, you know, and living your life. So you won't have any regrets. I sound sort of sentimental and, and I'm going kind of deep, but it's really true. Because these decisions are hard, and the impacts is substantial, right. And so, after my 29 years, as I looked back, I had some disappointment for not being able to have my career be the priority thing, because I was, I would have loved nothing more than to be a senior military officer, right and serve in that capacity. But instead, I had the opportunity to dig deep into what I understood my skill sets really were and what really made me tick, and what brought me joy. And so kind of like making lemonade out of making lemons out of lemonade, okay, if I can't stay on active duty, and I can't have my military career be the primary thread in my life, how can I find a lot of joy and fulfillment contribute in a ways that excite me and so understanding what my strengths were, I moved in directions that were unique to me and my skill set that frankly, didn't help me get promoted either. Okay, but I, you know, did something that was really important to me now, I am a lieutenant colonel. Okay. But I was a lieutenant colonel for 14 years, Amanda, so I got promoted early or whatever, you know, vacant unit vacancy. And I never moved from there. Okay. So it's preeminent. You know, I was in 2009. I was Lieutenant Colonel for 14 years, but I was doing what I loved, okay. And I loved wearing the uniform. But I knew that in public affairs, or in designing this unique never been done before outreach office for Ohio was better suited for me than maybe being in a traditional squadron commander, group commander, and above. And, And oh, by the way, it was really hard to compete, because I was competing with people who'd been in the unit for all of their career, you know, I mean, were you in the reserve and guard?
No, I got just got out.
Yeah. So when you transfer into the reserve, and guard, most of those people live in work there, most of their career. So as an active duty newcomer, you know, I was always the new kid on the block. And in most of the time, my bosses wanted me to be the change agent and create something new and different. And oh, by the way, you know, I was, when I was at the 1/21 Air Refueling Wing in Columbus, I was the first female in as the executive officer. So there were 400 of us full time on base, a total of like, 1400, overall, full time, part time, but I was the only female officer on base full time. So you know, that's, you know, in my book, I say,
you know, because of that I usually ate lunch alone.
Yeah. And that's, that's an interesting dynamic of being a
military spouse is in the reserves or National Guard and having to move around a lot. Because, like, sometimes people go from active duty to reserve, but then they don't usually move. And so like, maybe the new person for like, the first two or three years, but you are the new person all the time, all the time. Yeah. And, and so when, when my husband decided my first husband decided to get off active duty, he was ready. I chose Lancaster, Ohio is the place that I wanted to give our children roots. And we wanted to start a business, you know, kind of have our, our financial career so to speak, right? And so when I finally stopped moving and lived in a small, you know, midsize town in the Midwest, who I really started to understand how different my life had been, you know, some of the sacrifices, you know, some of the feelings of disconnection from some of the feelings of you know, not feeling like you belong anywhere. And so that's really what I wanted for that middle part of my life. And that's where the idea of veteran champions sorta started, you know, sorry, I started thinking about it because quick story. So I think I was 40 years old. And I was very involved in the local Chamber of Commerce because we had just started a health care practice. And I was very involved in health care practice. And a local business guy had been out on a nearby lake on a jet ski headed dock, and was killed instantly. Okay, so I went to his funeral. And to be honest, Amanda, I remember thinking, Man, I haven't been to many funerals. I lost my mother at 30. And, you know, my grandparents had died. But as a 40 year old, you know, because I'd moved so much, you know, I didn't get to know the lady down the street who had cancer. And oh, by the way, most people that you're surrounded by when you're even anyway, regarded, you know, military connected, right? They're in pretty good, pretty good health, right? And they're fairly young. So I was like, wow, okay. I've never been to a funeral. And then I was like, I don't even really know what to see council person is or a county commissioner,
what is state rep.
You know, I had the classes in school, but I didn't understand how America worked. You know, I mean, I've had a very different experience kind of skimming through life, kind of always on my own right, taking care of myself. And so that's why I'm so passionate about cultivating civilian veteran champions to help service members who don't have a network and feel disconnected.
Yeah, you're like, totally speaking, my, my life right now. Because we're a military family, and we move and someone was like, why don't you get involved and I'm like, well, we're gonna move in, like, three or four years. And like, I don't want to get like to involve, like, I'll get involved in my church, but like, getting involved in like, the community, ah, I don't know, cuz I'm just gonna pick up and like, and that's also one of the reasons, it's hard for me to get involved in veteran organizations, because like, I don't, I don't want to go to the VFW, make connections, and then move and have to start all over again, you know, and getting involved in that sort of thing is really hard.
What's really hard to get
involved in, I'm afraid of going to like a veteran organization and then having to start all over again.
Alright, sweet girl, we got to talk about this. Now, Okay, first of all, you know about team red, white, and blue Mission Continues Rubicon, all those right kind of for, kind of, for the younger people, if you will, you know, that's that delicate balance man of, if you will, getting your social needs met your friendship, your emotional needs met, and you know, feeling like you have that sense of belonging, and gauging judging when and how to do that. And, you know, maintain your time with your kids made it again, that's another personal decision. But I think one of the best things for me about moving around was that it really helped me be an extrovert. It really helped me learn new things quickly. And be very curious. I'm a super curious person. And to be I think, open minded, you know, military people are typically pretty open minded, you know, with the diversity and inclusion and they love, they love differences in people. You know, that's, that's the good stuff, and, and knowing how to be, you know, situationally responsive as a situational leader, you know, I've had some a lot of leadership training, and I am a leadership trainer and coach, but honestly, the more sensitive part may be is that, you know, I have very few really good friends. And probably because I'm a workaholic, and I have all these ideas, and I'm just always focused on the next project. And who knows, maybe that's a coping mechanism from learning, you know, bouncing around a lot, I don't know, but it's really important to have your emotional anchors. And it may again, my life story, she's been very different from someone who, you know, graduated from high school, went to college with the same people stayed in the same community to, you know, get their jobs has their, you know, their their mother in law, watch their kids. I mean, you don't experience any of those things. I'm thinking. So I think being very aware of, you know, how do you meet your emotional needs and your professional needs, because they're very important as you continue to, to move around. And there's, you know, this podcast is a great idea because you're building your brand, and you can do that wherever you go. And you're sharing a really important message.
Yeah, I love my podcast. Yeah, good job makes me so happy. Good. So let's talk more about what this veteran champion is. I mean, I've read your book, so I know. But I would love to hear you talk about what it means for civilians who are listening because I have a good amount of civilians. To listen to the channel and what that means, thank you for asking.
First, I invite everybody who's listening to join the veteran champion movement and be a part of the win. What does that mean? That means to develop, establish, create mutually beneficial activities and services that promote the quality of life of servicemembers, veterans and their families. And by so doing, improve our workforce, and our community. So simply put developing relationships with those who are serving or have served and their families to do things, it's going to create a win win, okay, a primary example is a civilian who is away from home over Thanksgiving near a military base, and they invite service members who are by themselves for Thanksgiving dinner, guess what, 30 years later, they're still buddies. Okay, that's a win, win, emotional support, friendship, okay, you're helping the service member who feels alone over a holiday. And oh, by the way, the civilian who has the same feeling, but over the years, they can help each other through challenges. That's sort of an easy example. Or, you know, a more obvious example is understanding the business case for hiring veteran talent, doing it because it's going to help your workforce be stronger, and because it's the right thing to do, but knowing how to do it in the right way to help that service member Excel within your culture, it's a win win for the person you hire, be it the service member, or veteran or the spouse, right? It's a huge win for that family because of financial reasons, self esteem, emotion, okay. And it's also a win for the workforce, because research shows that veterans are more productive, that they are more mission focused. And that cost savings can be generated with your investment in a veteran hiring program that works for everybody and is a win win. One other example I'm very passionate about is developing a volunteer led faith community military ministry. So that means that a veteran military spouse, a mother of a service member, a grandmother, who knows just an aunt, uncle, somebody who loves the military goes to their place of worship and says, what are we doing for the military families around us? Do we even know who the military connected people are in our congregation, in our community, it's really an ideal environment for military people to come together within their faith communities. Why? Because of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, research shows that about 40% of them have a difficult time finding meaning or purpose post military service. Now you don't necessarily have to have gone to combat to feel that way. You know, you and I feel disconnected, because of all are moving, right. But you know, military service can be challenging in and of itself, even without combat. But if you go to combat and you have some of the the the conditions that can come from combat, then it makes it even more challenging to connect and feel supported in your community. So faith communities are hospitable. They've got a wide range of membership in their congregation, and just with a little bit of education, and stick to itiveness, and some perseverance, and open, caring, loving heart and persistence. You can make huge, huge difference in the lives of servicemembers, veterans and their families. So it's a win win. It's a win for the military family, but it's also a win for the faith community, Amanda, because faith communities want to serve others, they want to spread the word about their faith, they want to be hospitable, and they want more members in their congregation. But fundamentally, they do it because it's the right thing to do. And they want to help welcome our warriors and their families all the way home. Does that answer your question?
Yeah. And I I found a lot of connection within the faith community. Okay. COVID kind of messed up everything with that. Yeah. But one of the hardest things that for me as a military spouse, or even a service member was the process to like become a leader or to volunteer is very complicated for someone who's only going to be there for Two to four years. And by the time I get like that sometimes they make it so complicated. And it's because they're making this program for someone who's not going to
move. That's a good point. And yes,
sometimes I let a Bible study in California, but to be a Bible study leader, I had to go to all this training, and then eventually, I could leave the Bible study. And it was like, I don't really have time to do all these things. But I did. And it was good. But it would have been nice if it was just a little tweak of making it easier.
Well, and you know, Amanda, this may be another way for you to serve your serve through your faith, and that is to go find the military people in your congregation, wherever you are, and bring them together. And you know, what is the demographic of those people, you know, you're probably going to connect mostly with other military spouses. That's kind of my experience, I connect more easily with women of any age, then I'm going to connect with a combat veteran, right? I've never been to combat right. So go into your congregation and find the military connected people bring them together and say, hey, how can we support each other? You know, we were only going to be here a few years, how can we make it work, there's one program I'd like to give a shout out for. And that's called crew, military crew. Military is a Christian based organization for typically active duty families that are typically closer to large, active duty military installations. But there's all kinds of great curriculum that are focused specifically on military families. And so you know, you can go out and lead on your own and create your own unique military ministry, bringing families together, having a potluck, finding out what their needs are of the of the people in your specific group, and then finding ways to meet their needs. If, if nothing else, you can come together and pray, if that's what you so choose to do, you can share scripture, and you can just say, Hey, I'm thinking about you, you know, is there anything I can do for you, and then you can connect them to the veteran support resources in your community, you don't have to have all the answers. You don't have to be a counselor or a therapist, you just need to care and open your arms and invite them to come be in relationship with you and build those connections during that short period of time. And that's everything I you know, that is a key part of me, I kind of like to get to it pretty quickly and be open minded, you know, about my heart and my head, because I know, my relationship with you could be very short term. And I want to connect as quickly as we can and have an authentic relationship if you're so willing, because I may not be here very long, right? I mean, that's kind of been my mindset, most of my life. So be having authentic relationships is probably a really wanting authentic relationships with people in a in a shorter period of time is, you know, probably a result of all the moving I've done and, you know, kind of feeling, you know, kind of disconnected a lot.
Yeah, that's so true. I think, yeah, military spouses and servicemembers. We're like, we don't have time for the niceties. Let's just dive right in. Yeah. I need a friend.
Yeah, exactly. When I
was a lieutenant, one of my really good friends that I didn't know at the time, she sent me an email, she looked on the email chain that had went out and she's like, your name is Amanda. And I know you're a female and I need friends. So can you be my Isn't that awesome? That's awesome. I love it.
Yep. Yeah. And it's it's just so easy to you know, build that bond with other other women veterans, because we need each other.
Yeah, that's so true. Yeah. Is there anything from your career or from what you're doing today that we didn't get a chance to talk about yet?
I would like to invite all your listeners to a new program that myself another Air Force veteran and a civilian leader of a nonprofit, Susan and Wendy, we are starting a monthly leadership discussion forum virtual called women who lead the idea is to talk about leadership education, assessment and development to empower veteran and civilian women. And to foster support for both. It's in line with creating that Win Win opportunity. It's going to be the second Wednesday of every month at 7:30am. Mountain Standard Time. And though Vanguard veteran is my business, I will be doing social media posting on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. That was one shout out. I wanted to offer and love to have women veterans from around the country join us and it's just it's just got so much potential to you know, really help bridge that understanding between military and civilian woman is going to be awesome. And then the other question I wanted to reflect on that you sent me in the notes and I think is really important. I don't know if you're going to ask me but it You're gonna go there next.
Yeah, that's my last question. I always say that what for the end, but I'll put a link in the show notes so that people can find that program so that they don't have to find your website. And so just send me that link. And I'll add that Yeah. My last question is, what advice would you give to young women who are considering joining the military,
I say, go for it. Moms, let your daughters fly. Let your daughters experience that. Okay, it is doable. They may not want to serve 29 years like I did, going and serving at all is wonderful for their development for their, for their for every skill you can imagine. For the young lady who is considering this. I say to you, do the next right thing to prepare yourself for this opportunity. First, keep doing well in school. take it serious, okay? Second, don't get in trouble. Don't get in trouble. Third, learn to love exercise. Okay? If you don't like it now, teach yourself. Not only is it good for you physically and mentally, it's going to help you excel once you get into the military. And you know what? Have an open curious, open, curious mindset because you are going to learn and meet some amazing people who are doing amazing things. Don't be afraid to take a little bit of risk. Don't be afraid to move away from home. Did you hear what Amanda said you're going to meet another woman service member who needs to be your friend and you are going to have a great time while you're working really hard wearing the cloth of the nation. Go for it. If I could offer anybody any tips, suggestions. You know answer any questions. My email is Kathy with a K at Vanguard veteran Comm. I'd love to hear from you. I hope that you will consider joining and Amanda I want to wish you the best and everything as you continue to do this important work.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to be on the podcast and I can't wait to share this interview with It's time for it to go live. Thank you Amanda. Keep
in touch my friend. Let's be friends. Okay.
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