This month’s MP Spouse Spotlight is Patricia Ketchem. Patricia is a dedicated spouse and mother who has deeply impacted the lives of many military spouses through her volunteer work. She’s currently making great strides towards her bachelor’s degree and when she’s not studying, you can find her driving her children to and from their activities and events. We’re thankful to Patricia for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer a few of our questions and provide some helpful insight about the life of an MP spouse.
How long have you been a military spouse?
I’ve been married to my husband for 19 years. He was in the national guard when we got married. There was a brief two-year time he was out of the guard before entering active duty in the Army in 2008. So, I guess you could say 17 years.
What recommendations would you give a new MP spouse?
I would say find something you are interested in and plug in. Your spouse has his or her career in the Army and some things will be decided for you because of that, but it isn’t your identity. Seek out the things that you enjoy and that make you happy apart from your spouse and do those! One thing I notice is that we (military spouses) often put our goals on the back burner when we are supporting our Soldier, but those things aren’t mutually exclusive. I think that in order to not just survive but thrive as the spouse of a Soldier we have to find the things that fulfill us.
What is your favorite memory as an MP spouse?
Several things come to mind! At Fort Leonard Wood, I was able to participate in Jayne Wayne day where we got to participate in some things our Soldiers do or did during training. Rappelling was big for me because I’m afraid of heights. That was fun!! Another favorite memory was seeing my husband graduate from Drill Sergeant School and recently learning that he was selected for promotion to Master Sergeant.
What do you do? Tell us about your career.
I volunteer for a non-profit called Heart on a Mission or HOAM, for short. The mission of HOAM is to build a more connected military community through the power of servant leadership. I am a fitness coach for HOAM and serve on their Board of Directors. This has been one of the most life-changing things I’ve had the privilege of doing. The whole idea of putting others before yourself, looking outside of our own situations, and how we can make a difference in the lives of others keeps the focus off the day to day things that might bring us down. We like to say it’s the HOAM away from home.
I am also a part time college student finishing up my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at Kansas State University and plan to graduate next year.
What has been your favorite duty station and why?
My favorite duty station so far was Fort Leonard Wood, MO. This is the place where you could say that I found myself. I found my calling and truly did what I suggested above. I found my passion and identity outside of being a wife and mother. I enjoyed the area as well.
If you have children, what do you do as a family and how do you make time for family?
We have 4 children and time as a family during the school year is usually spent at someone’s practice or sporting event. All 4 of the kids are participating in sports so schedules are crazy. In the summer we enjoy going to the local lake and fishing, camping, and grilling out.
What are your hobbies- what do you do to stay busy?
I will say I don’t try to stay busy, but busy finds me! School and volunteering keep me busy during the day and the kid’s activities keep me running in the evenings and weekends. Outside of that, I enjoy running, biking, hiking, and most things outdoors. Though my husband is currently on a rotation in Europe, I decided to sign up for the Wilderman Triathlon as a way to bring awareness to Heart on a Mission. It’s a full ironman distance, off-road triathlon that will take place this July in North Dakota. The race includes a 2.4 mile open water swim, 113 miles of rugged mountain biking, and 26 miles on foot through the woods at night. Competing at this level is definitely pushing me outside my comfort zone. I’m nervous, but I’ve been thriving during my training thanks to support from my fellow HOAM-ers and I hope the race provides me with the opportunity to spread the word about this organization that means so much to me.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and why?
I am not one who loves to travel, but if time and money were not a factor, I would take a road trip around the United States and visit places like the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore. I think we sometimes miss the beauty of our own country and what it has to offer. I would want to see the ocean from both coasts and spend time hiking and camping in different national forests.