MSOY Milestones: Tara Crooks

What a whirlwind of a year I had in 2013! Of course, the first wonderful thing I got to do as your 2013 Armed Forces Insurance™ Army Spouse of the Year was the Military Spouse of the Year Award Ceremony last year in May. Have I told you about all of the fun? Besides the ceremony, there was a Mother’s Day tea that followed at the White House. Prince Harry was there! The cookies…oh the cookies…my friends, I snuck one into my purse! Yes, a White House COOKIE IN MY PURSE! You must go read all about it.

I’ve been very busy since then on the personal and professional front. Immediately after the event Army Wife Network, for which I am the Cofounder, presented our signature event Field Exercise™ to military spouses at Fort Eustis, VA. I had not so much stepped off the flight from D.C. to get back on one to VA.

2013 was also the year that our family moved from Fort Sill, OK. My husband Kevin returned from deployment in Dec 2012 and we were given our orders sometime in February.  He took a job with FEMA Region 6, still active duty Army, in Denton, TX. In May, we bought a home in Lantana, TX about twenty minutes from his office. My summer following the awards was full of PCS activities, which is enough to make anyone crazy.

To ensure that the crazy train was full speed ahead, we thought we’d top it off with a huge trip to Disneyworld. Ok, I’ll be fair: we didn’t really plan it that way, we had no idea we were coming down on orders and the trip had been master-planned during Kevin’s deployment. It was stressful managing it all but our trip was amazing. We spent two weeks in Florida – one on a cruise and one in a hotel and visiting the park. We were able to meet up with old military friends from Fort Stewart and had an amazing time together on our vacation.


I must admit it is different living in a civilian community. We have encountered many different challenges that the military just “does better”. Like making friends – soooo much easier in the military. The one thing I miss the most is being a volunteer at Army Community Services and with a unit. I miss teaching, mentoring, and getting to see “real life Army wives” on a daily basis.

In October of 2013 I was invited to speak at the AUSA Conference in Washington, D.C. Another opportunity to scratch off the bucket list. Starlett, AWN Cofounder, and I took on the challenge of speaking and facilitating a panel of discussion on the growing and ever-changing face of our military neighborhood. I was also able to take part in the MilSpouse CEO Experience headed up by Lori Volkman and her team and sign 1001 Things to Love about Military Life books for giveaway on the AUSA Exhibitor’s floor. It was an experience I will not easily forget.

I am extremely grateful every day to still be able to maintain contact with Army families virtually through Army Wife Network. Our core team at Army Wife Network is amazing. We continue to provide our military community with empowerment and positivity as well as useful resources through our main site and our blog We continue to broadcast our live radio show each Monday night at 8pm EST via Blog Talk Radio. We work daily to grow our Facebook community and Twitter followers. We have been able to accomplish two live events, the Fort Carson, CO Field Exercise™ September 19 & 20, and the Fort Knox Field Exercise™ Nov 7 & 8 of last year. We even survived the retirement of our Cofounder, Starlett Henderson, in December.


On tap for 2014 we bring you a new radio show format hosted by the AWN Core Team. We’ve branched out to Pinterest and added Instagram and our new Resource of the Week feature on YouTube.

We will continue to grow our team of blogger on Loving a Soldier. We have partnered with Corvias Group to bring you three Field Exercise™ events to Forts Bragg, Meade, and Sill this year. Also already on the calendar is an Operation Homefront event in February at Fort Bliss, a Spouse Club event and book signing at Fort Sam Houston, and a Spouse event with Operation In Touch in Kingsmill, VA.

I will also continue my work with USAA in their spouse community as a Military Spouse Community Manager.

Thank you for the recognition of my service to our community. You will never know how much it means to this “words of affirmation” love-language-speaking girl.

A wise woman once told me, “You never know who you might be impacting.” Today, whatever thing you do – big or small – is making an impact on those around you. Thank you for impacting my life. Here’s to an amazing 2014! 

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