For the past seven years, Jennifer Rickert has been volunteering with Army Community Service across the Army. For the last two years she’s volunteered full time here with Army Community Service, or ACS, as the Army Family Team Building, Army Family Action Plan and Army Volunteer Corps program manager; Resilient Spouse Academy program manager; and special events coordinator. From time to time, Rickert also assists the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate’s special events team.
In addition to her volunteer work, Rickert’s main duty is to her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Rickert, and three children, Emily, Trey and Liberty. The combination of her many roles is why she was recently named Fort Huachuca’s Military Spouse of the Year for 2013 by “Military Spouse Magazine,” the first time a FH spouse has been awarded this honor.
“The fact that Ms. Rickert devotes so much of her personal time to ensure she touches the lives of military spouses should be recognized and rewarded, each time Ms. Rickert speaks with a new spouse that enters the ACS facility or one that she meets in the community she makes them aware of all the services, classes and events available to them both on and off the installation,” said Russ Carey, ACS relocation manager.
Like many military spouses, Rickert has had her fair share of relocations — spending time stationed at Fort Hood, Fort Riley and Fort Huachuca. Rickert explains that she decided to start volunteering as a way to give back to the Army and other spouses.
“Like many other new spouses I had no idea what I was getting into or where to turn for assistance or knowledge. Then I found out about ACS; the programs and trainings I took advantage of helped mold my experiences as an Army spouse. I decided that it was my responsibility to give back to the military communities and to reach out to new spouses and give them the same tools and opportunities that will make their experience as a military spouse rewarding and exciting,” Rickert stated.
Rickert’s husband Charles nominated her for the prestigious award. He is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence. He says he nominated his wife because it is well deserved and he’s proud of her.
“She devotes her time to ensuring that each and every military spouse she comes in contact with is taken care of in the best possible way, and that they have the tools to be successful military spouses. At the end of the day, somehow, she still has 110-percent to give to me and our children,” he added.
“This award is absolutely fitting; it really just puts the icing on the cake. Her past accomplishments and unselfish giving to the community is the foundation she has established and the lives she has touched by reaching out and educating new spouses is only a reflection of who she is, and this community has shown its gratitude by selecting her for this honor,” added Carey.
Rickert has also been involved in Family Readiness Groups since 2003 and has been an FRG leader for the past five years. Currently, she is a board member for the Fort Huachuca Community Spouses Club as the parliamentarian.
In addition to the military community, she served on the executive board for Habitat for Humanity as the resource development coordinator, organized special events and provided volunteer opportunities for the military community.
From here Rickert will go on to compete against 42 other spouses for the Army MSoY title. Voting is Tuesday, and results will be announced on Feb. 21. Then six branch winners proceed to the national vote on March 5, with final results released on May 9. Both levels will include popular vote and judge’s panel.
The judges consist of “Military Spouse Magazine,” Armed Forces Insurance, and Joint Chiefs of Staff spouses.
“I am very confident that if I am the Military Spouse of the Year [for] 2013, I will do my very best to advocate for spouses globally. Not reaching [just] one diversion, but reaching them all with hopes that Resilient Spouse Academy can be spread to every installation, educating every willing spouse,” Rickert added.
The winning spouse is featured in “Military Spouse Magazine” and has the opportunity to advocate for military spouses for a whole year, similar to the role Miss America plays, Rickert explained.
For more information on the award and to vote for Rickert, go to www.militaryspouse.com.