Military Spouses of Strength is a national nonprofit organization with a mission

to improve the health and overall wellness within the military community.

"Our military spouses have endured supporting their service members through nearly thirteen years of war. Thirteen years of combat deployments and other challenges that uniquely face military families. In a recent Military Spouses of Strength survey, nearly 91 percent of those surveyed stated they had dealt with a bout of depression, of that number 73 percent felt it was caused to deployment, 83 percent sought out mental health support and of those who didn't seek support 80 percent said they didn't feel like they were in a bad enough place to do so. As a community, we need to change the dialogue about mental health related issues. We need to begin taking preventative measures, and not react to situations, " said MSoS Founder, Liz Snell.

2014 Military Spouse of the year nomination

Elizabeth "Liz"Snell

Marine Corps Wife-Mother-Volunteer-Student-Mental Health Advocate

When I think of a title like “Military Spouse of the Year,” it embodies the traits of someone who has faced the challenges of military life head on while going above and beyond for this community. Marine Corps wife, Liz Snell, represents all that is unique about the role of a military spouse. Married to her husband Brian for 13 years, she has invested herself in every facet of this lifestyle to not only live the best life possible but to also help others along the way. Her commitment to the people who support their service members has been evident in the various roles she has taken on over the last decade.

Dedicating her time to various non-profit organizations, Liz has sought out programs that improve the quality of life for our military families. First, she volunteered at the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society to assist families with budgeting and learning how to make sound financial decisions. Then, when her husband was stationed on an independent duty assignment away from a base, she became the Family Readiness Advisor for the Marine Corps which allowed her to create and implement programs that made families feel the support of morale building activities. Because an important part of being a military family is connecting with others like yourself, at Recruiting Station Detroit she devoted her time to planning spouse meet ups, holiday parties for the kids, and a new parent support program that helped new mothers get through those first weeks. During this time she also served as a LINKS mentor and traveled to different units to teach spouses some of the tools that help you to navigate the unexpected that comes along with being a spouse. While serving as a volunteer, she was also employed by the American Red Cross in one of the toughest positions that any of us can imagine: supporting families during the loss of a loved one. All of her experience up until this point allowed her to see what our brave families, service members, and veterans endure and it motivated her to keep doing more.

Anyone who knows Liz will tell you she is the kind of person that would come to the aide of anyone, simply because she believes in the sacred bond that exists between the 1.1 million spouses even if she does not know you. She has endured the fears of Brian’s multiple combat deployments and the challenges of finding employment when PCS moving; she has stood as a strong role model to her two young daughters which encouraged them to also volunteer in the community. The beauty of this woman is that while she is just like us, in that she has experienced all that the military throws at our families, she is also unique in that she will always strive to do with less. She believes in you and me and in all of us.

Today, she oversees the Volunteer Recognition Program for Blue Star Families while attending school to pursue her Master’s degree. In addition to the volunteerism, role model characteristics, and commitment to her husband’s service, one of the most important roles she has is as an advocate for mental health for our military spouses. It is no secret that after 13 years of war and sacrifice, our spouses face struggles that are often battled silently. In the midst of raising families and holding up the home front, it feels near impossible to find the time to take care of ourselves. Liz recognized a need for strong mental health support specific to our spouses after her own battles with depression. After seeking out help, she turned her experiences into a platform that fills an important need. She has created a resource driven organization called Military Spouses of Strength (MSoS). Through her programs she has brought together licensed professionals who are donating their time to provide spouses with the help they need. Further, she provides resources, peer to peer support, and a place to connect with others going through the hardships of mental illness. MSoS represents Liz’s vision to equip military spouses with the tools they need to win the battles they are facing here at home. By becoming the 2014 MSOY, Liz will be able to lend her voice to the epidemic that we are facing within our community. We cannot ignore the impact of 13 years of combat on those left behind.

Overall, I believe Liz Snell embodies all of the qualities of someone this community would want to represent them. She is selfless and does what she does because she genuinely cares about our spouses. She has always found a way to make her community just a little bit better by dedicating her skillsets and time to identify the issues while devising tangible solutions. Our community needs a leader who has walked the walk and found a way to the light at the end of the tunnel. In 2014, there is no greater fight we need to tackle than the mental health issues that are occurring so that our spouses can get the proper support they deserve.