Stacie's retirement flag“I remember the first time I put on my uniform and how good it felt. Serving in the Air Force was very important to me,” says Stacie Fredriksson, JF&CS Shoulder to Shoulder Program Manager. “23 years went by very quickly and, for me, retiring from the military is bittersweet. You grow a lot over 23 years.”

November 1, 2016 was Stacie’s last day of service in the Air Force Reserves. She started her military career in her college Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps). “I joined because I knew I wanted to do government service with a focus on international relations, thinking eventually I’d work at the State Department,” she explains. “I did not come from a military family so it was all new to me. The first couple years in ROTC were a little rough, learning new military standards, getting physically fit, and figuring it all out but I stuck it out.”

Commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in May 1993, Stacie served 14 years on active duty moving from training in Texas, to Nevada, Florida, California, and Colorado, including a deployment to Kuwait along the way. Having met her husband while they were both serving in active duty, they moved here when he was transferred to Hanscom Air Force Base. At that point, Stacie transferred to the Reserves. When her husband retired from active duty, they stayed on in Massachusetts.

For the last nine years, Stacie served in the Reserves part-time. Her unit was located at Fort Meade, Maryland, where she would spend two to three days per month plus a full two-week period each year. Admittedly, it was challenging after she had kids but with the support of her husband, they managed to make it work. As her kids got older and life became more complex, she considered retiring.

Moving to the Reserves allowed Stacie to also consider other career opportunities. “I made a conscious decision when I moved into the Reserves from active duty that I wanted to do something that was still service-related and that I wanted to give back,” says Stacie. Stacie spent her first six years working for an early literacy organization managing military programs at more than 70 military bases worldwide. Looking for a new opportunity, someone sent Stacie a job listing for the JF&CS Shoulder to Shoulder program. “From the moment I met with JF&CS staff, I knew it would be a perfect fit.”

“The life experiences I’ve had allow me to have a compassion for our military and veterans and their families. It’s so much easier to talk to someone who has been through the same thing. I’m very blessed to have found a position where I can still work with this population. I’m grateful that I’m able to do the work that I do and that I can work here part-time so I can also focus on my own family.

“The word ‘family’ is part of the name of JF&CS and I’m thrilled that JF&CS is so committed to serving not only families but military families.”

Upon her retirement, Stacie received a letter of thanks from the Air Force, along with a flag framed in a shadow box with her service dates noted on it. Her husband had the flag flown in California, Colorado, and Maryland commemorating the last few locations she served. “I want my kids to know I served,” she says. “I think it’s an important part of who I have become over the last 23 years. I want them to come to know the importance of service (military or otherwise), honor, and sacrifice.”

Please join JF&CS in congratulating Stacie on her military retirement and thanking her for her 23 years of service.

Originally posted on the JF&CS blog.

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