SOUTH SEAVILLE - Samantha Millspaugh, of South Seaville, met her husband while they were in the Coast Guard. Twenty years and four states later, she has learned to adjust to moving and starting over and is eager to help others like her.
As president of the Jersey Cape Military Spouses Club, she helps spouses with networking, social and volunteer activities, and making friends in a transitory world.
The organization promotes the morale and well-being of uniformed personnel and their families by engaging in charitable and social activities and providing educational monetary awards for college-bound students.
"How do you pick up everything and start over every few years?" Millspaugh asked, noting it can be challenging. "What's your priority? As you are settling in, you need to know where to find things in your community. You have to know what to bring with you, like doctors' records.
"Then you need to find a doctor, schools and learn what to expect and how they work, possibly a veterinarian, where to shop for bargains, the ins and outs of a community. The club members can help with that.
"We're a community of our own; there's almost an immediate trust or bond that's there because we know what each other is going through.
"You put yourself out there in this world, and trust that people are good," she added. "We have each other's back."
Millspaugh was serving in the Coast Guard when she met her husband. She served seven years, joining for educational benefits. Her husband is in his 32nd year.
"It's a fun way to live because you learn a lot about the world and country, and all the diversification," she explained. "There are other ways of life and doing things, and I find you can adopt different pieces from your experiences."
The Military Spouses Club currently consists of all females, although Millspaugh said they had one male member in the club up until spring 2019 when the family transferred. The club members volunteer throughout the community, having helped a local family financially who lost everything in a fire to donating to widows who recently lost their Coast Guard spouses.
"Our biggest fundraisers are for educational opportunities for spouses or children of members who want to continue their education," she noted.
Throughout the years, she said, they have funded a range of activities from attendance at a Federal Bureau of Investigation-sponsored camp for a youngster interested in forensic science to day camp at the Nature Center to sailing and cooking camps.
During the holidays, they sponsor stockings for the recruits in basic training. They also hold an annual baby shower event so mothers-to-be can benefit from gifts, despite not being near family or friends.
They also have sponsored financial seminars to better prepare families for investing or retirement, and provide welcome bags for families.
"When your spouse is away, it's nice to have the social network, activities, and camaraderie," Millspaugh noted.
The group meets monthly and is open to spouses in any branch of the military.
To contact Karen Knight, email firstname.lastname@example.org.