As a company with a mission to support and give back to the military community, we are always on the hunt for fellow military spouses who are committed to doing the same. Christina Etchberger is one of those military spouses who is dedicated to serving others. She is an Army spouse, boy Mom, and Founder, CEO & President of It’s a Military Life - a 501c3 dedicated to serving the military community.
It's a Military Life's mission is to enhance the quality of life for military service members through programs and services such as the Veteran Pen Pal Project, which connects members of the military community (spouses, veterans, and active duty service members) with pen pals to combat isolation and loneliness; It's a Military Child Life, which provides resources and support to military children and their families; and It's a Military Connection, which offers networking opportunities and career resources.
I am honored to shine a light on Christina's story, her Army family, and her heart for giving back. Say hello to my friend, Christina Etchberger!
GIVE US A BEHIND-THE-SCENES PEEK AT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY – HOW DID YOU BECOME A MILITARY SPOUSE (MILSPOUSE)? WHAT DO YOU DO IN ADDITION TO BEING A MILSPOUSE? AND A FUN FACT ABOUT YOUR MILITARY FAMILY?
My journey as a military spouse, specifically as Active Duty Army, began with meeting my husband who graduated West Point as an officer back in 2016. We got married at the Catholic Church by the chaplain, and our adventure has been one for the books from day one. A dog, two children, in addition to two deployments, and OCONUS to South Korea, it has been an exciting life.
In addition to being a military spouse, I am the Founder, CEO & President of It’s a Military Life. IML is a 501c3 dedicated to serving the military community. It all started when my husband was deployed back in 2020, and I wanted to be a change agent for the community during such challenging times. It grew from there, and I could not be happier with the community I am now involved in everyday.
IN WHICH MILITARY BRANCH DOES YOUR SPOUSE SERVE AND FOR HOW MANY YEARS?
My husband has served in the Army for eight years this May of 2024.
We began as a newly married couple at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This was our first duty station, and my first time living away from home, which is the Chicago area. Definitely very different from the suburbs, and missed my life as a teacher with family and friends nearby. I did enjoy the ACS program when I first had my oldest son, and the Wichita Mountains were breathtaking. Oklahoma City was a great place to visit, as well! Made a lot of lifetime friends at Fort Sill, by getting myself out there.
We have been in South Korea for almost three years, and I have enjoyed the experience immensely. I highly recommend, if possible, to go overseas. My children have experienced Korean culture by attending Korean preschool, and I have jumped right in to trying to learn a new language and drive through the streets of Daegu and Seoul. The military communities here are very close, and feel like family!
The military spouses I have befriended these last few years are truly genuine women that can be anything from your emergency contact to that person who just gets it. The community is so diverse, as well, which allows us all to truly learn from each other - different cultures, languages, and interests - make for a very well-rounded community.
WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
My husband inspires me each and every day. His dedication to his mission and our family motivates me to do my best as a military spouse, mother, and military community advocate. I am inspired by his focus on the task at hand, while still having so much heart when it comes to connecting with the soldiers. Our sons look up to him as a father, and are so proud of their hero.
The Never Walk Alone bracelet really spoke to me because my dog, Andie, has been right by my side since day one. Anyone that has ever had a dog with them during a long deployment, a life change, or tragedy - knows he or she is your loyal companion during the good times and bad. I hope that by wearing this bracelet, I can inspire others to support Got Your Six Support Dogs. No veteran or first responder should walk alone. I dedicate this bracelet to my aunt, who recently retired as a police officer. Her dedication and commitment to her community was unwavering, and I am proud to wear this bracelet in her honor.
As someone who is active in the nonprofit sector with the organization I began, It’s a Military Life, serving others in the military community is the best way to take control of what cannot be controlled. I am someone that truly loves to give back, but also has felt so grounded and supported even more through giving back with the unwavering support of IML’s professional volunteer team. Our team consists of many military spouses and veterans, so we feel like family.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A FELLOW MILITARY SPOUSE WHO IS STRUGGLING WITH MILITARY LIFE OR DEPLOYMENT?
It is important not to get stuck in the countdown mentality. Too often I see military spouses put their lives on hold for their service members, and lose sight of how important their lives are at that moment. Be present for you, your family, your friends, and the surrounding community. When you feel alone, there are many ways to feel empowered. Join a spouse club, volunteer for the USO or Red Cross, join an event through ACS or MWR. Know the comfort that you are never alone.
WE HAPPEN TO BE QUOTE LOVERS AROUND HERE – CAN YOU SHARE A FAVORITE QUOTE THAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?
“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Maya Angelou
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