by Kerstin Lopez
A local military spouse has found a way to help the Army community during one of the most stressful times in military life – moving.
Susanna Haynie, a military spouse since 1993, began an interactive website to help other military spouses with some of the common questions they encounter when making a permanent-change-of-station move.
While stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., in 2009, Haynie realized a PCS move would be on the horizon within six months after her husband’s return from deployment, and her anxiety was quickly compounding.
“I very well realized that it would be somewhat of a sprint to the finish line, between reconnecting with my husband and getting the Family ready to relocate,” she said.
Turning to other military spouses and searching the Internet for information about their soon-to-be new duty station at Fort Carson helped, but didn’t give Haynie all the answers she was seeking. The information was fragmented and strewn throughout multiple websites, she said.
“As I searched the web I noticed that
I was not the only one asking seemingly similar questions – Where are the great schools? Where are the safe neighborhoods? Who had tips about PCSing?”
And so came the idea and launch of Haynie’s innovative and interactive website.
“Long story short, I wondered what it would be like to have it all on one site and the website would have to be across ‘borders, branches and ranks,'” Haynie said.
The site, http://www.militarydutystations.com, allows people to leave their remarks and suggestions regarding area schools, housing and medical information, things to do and moving tips. Haynie said it’s beneficial in three major ways – to ease a major stressor, solve the issue of unfamiliarity and reduce transition time.
“I found my niche and it was PCSing. These support groups for the most part cross-promote and it is an absolute wonderful system. It is empowering,” Haynie said.
Recently, something big came along that catapulted the relocation website into the minds of many people. The Army Public Affairs Online and
Social Media Division had been looking for an example of how military spouses were using the Internet, social media in particular, to connect with each other.
Haynie was approached by the social media division to see if she was interested in having the website featured in the Association of United States Army Social Media Workshop exhibition during the annual conference Oct. 25-27.
“I immediately realized that this is a wonderful opportunity for the website to reach a large audience. I was so excited to have been chosen,” Haynie said.
She believes having the site featured at the AUSA conference will have a great impact as commanders, Family readiness group leaders and other participants carry the information of the AUSA conference home and pass it on.
“I am proud to announce that the AUSA added my website to their list of resources.”
Ashlie Paulo, military spouse, said the website was a great help before she relocated to Germany.
“(The website) has helped me out a lot,” Paulo said. “I really appreciate this site because there’s a lot that I could not find if it was not for this site. This site responds fast and gives really good suggestions.”