Evie King | Photo submitted by Evie King

Evie King | Photo submitted by Evie King ()

“‘[M]aking wellness accessible’ means removing barriers, whatever that happens to be for what that person is experiencing, so they can get the resources [they need].” Evie King, AFI USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Base Winner and Army Branch Winner, 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 Evie, and as of March 6, she was named the AFI Army Branch MSOY. Evie King told me a little about herself and her platform.

Evie has been a military spouse for more than 11 years. She currently serves as the president of the non-profit InDependent, and has been with the organization since 2016. InDependent seeks to make “wellness accessible and creates opportunities for all military spouses to connect for friendship, accountability, and inspiration,” according to their mission. Evie pointed out how wellness is something that is “both deeply personal…and extremely universal.”

Evie’s goal is to make wellness accessible to all military spouses. Her goal is to provide resources and information to “underserved populations” in the military community, be they male military spouses or LGBTQ+ spouses. Part of what Evie wants to do with her AFI MSOY platform is to do a deep dive into the available data about military spouses, particularly in terms of identity and what challenges people are facing in different demographics or areas where people are stationed. She hopes to “not just have conversations with people, but analyz[e] and look at the data because you don’t know where there are gaps if you are not asking the right questions … Once you know what those questions are, organizations can start making data-informed decisions that actually impact the wellbeing of the military spouses.”

She went on to talk about how through her work with InDependent, she has found that when seeking counseling, many LGBTQ+ spouses and couples are often forced to make a choice between selecting a counselor who specializes in LGBTQ+ marriages OR military marriages because there is rarely someone, especially in-network, that specializes in both. According to Evie, it can take up to 6-8 sessions with a civilian counselor for them to “truly begin to grasp the challenges that the military life adds on top of many of those issues.”

She also discussed the dynamics of the military and how wellness must be addressed differently at the various bases. “They have different challenges: The wellness issues that you would address at Fort Bragg might be very different than the wellness issues, or the approach to them, at 29 Palms.”

This is the second time she has served as a base winner. She was also the 2017 AFI MSOY Fort Bragg Base Winner. This is the first time she has been recognized as a branch winner. You can read Evie’s full profile on the AFI MSOY website here.

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