Yvonne Zdanowski | Photo submitted by Yvonne Zdanowski

Yvonne Zdanowski | Photo submitted by Yvonne Zdanowski ()

“How military spouses deal with all of that and still continue to be some of the most inspiring people, inspired me.” Ramstein Air Base Winner, Yvonne Zdanowski, 2023.

Since 2008, Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) has honored military spouses all over the world and from each military branch with the Military Spouse of the Year (MSOY) award to recognize military spouse contributions and help to the military community and the U.S.

Nominees compete at the base and branch levels for the ultimate honor, the overall Military Spouse of the year. The overall winner will be selected in May 2023. In Germany, four military spouses won at the base level for USAG Rheinland-Pfalz, USAG Stuttgart, USAG Bavaria and Ramstein Air Base.

I had the pleasure of talking to Ramstein Air Base Winner, Yvonne Zdanowski, and she told me a little about herself and her platform.

Yvonne, a German native, met her husband in 2013 on his first tour at Ramstein Air Base. She had her own career here in Germany that was left behind when they PCS’ed to Keesler, Mississippi with their toddler. “I had my job. I had my life here (in Germany). And then we left…. It was scary.” She shed that fear and began to look for new growth and career opportunities in her new life where she got involved with the local military community.

During her time at Keesler, she began to realize how connected the military community could truly be. “Meeting more and more military spouses…” she said, “pretty much every military spouse goes through the same thing. No one is ever really at home, right?”

Yvonne has a platform based on “resilience,” “growth,” and “community.” Yvonne volunteers as a resilience trainer, a Key Spouse and with the USO. She volunteered in 2021 with the Operation Allies Refuge/Operation Allies Welcome at Ramstein Air Base and in 2018, successfully launched Stroller Warriors Keesler, a running club for military spouses. She works with spouses on helping them realize their goals, despite the barriers that military life may place in their way.

Yvonne has collaborated with fellow MSOY base winner for USAG Rheinland-Pfalz, Evie King, to work with resiliency in military spouses. She has also been inspired by the stories of fellow base winners: “Through their stories, I have learned what motivates them …. Often times, you find yourself in the stories.”

You can read Yvonne’s full profile on the AFI MSOY website here.

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