Military spouse recognized as finalist for Alaska Young Professional of the Year Award

  • Published
  • By Maria Galvez
  • 673 ABW/PA

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — As a military spouse, integrating into civilian life can be challenging. Building connections and finding mentors is crucial, but requires understanding the language and culture of the community.

Stephany Pippin, a public affairs specialist assigned to the 11th Air Force Public Affairs Office, was nominated for Alaska Young Professional of the Year award for 2023 during a ceremony Thursday, April 4 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Despite not winning the award, Pippin's nomination highlights her dedication to both her career and community engagement.

“Serving the community is about connection, it offers a chance to support each other and see successes in each other’s goals,” said Pippin, who works at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. “For me, that means bringing together the community and fulfilling my passion of linking others together to accomplish their ideas and initiatives through time, talent and experiences.”

The nomination, submitted by Richard Toney, the 673d Mission Support Group deputy director and one of Pippin's mentors at JBER, emphasized her commitment to volunteer work and her role as a young professional within the communication field. Pippin's involvement in various community initiatives and her ability to connect with others outside the military sphere were key factors in her nomination.

“I nominated Stephany for selection as the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Young Professional of the Year because she is an exceptional role model throughout the JBER community and the Anchorage municipality,” said Toney. “As president of the JBER Community Club, her leadership was essential in revitalizing the organization, raising almost $20,000 that is now supporting college scholarships for JBER youth and amenities for highly visible celebratory events such as the JBER Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony and so much more.”

Reflecting on the significance of being nominated for an award not directly associated with the military, Pippin noted the challenges of bridging the gap between military-specific language and civilian understanding. However, she expressed pride in representing the military community and the importance of integrating into civilian life.

“I think it's very different to go outside and compete with your peers in the civilian world, versus competing with your peers in the military world, because they look at stuff so much differently outside of the military and outside of our gates than we do inside,” said Pippin.

Her dedication to community involvement spans across her numerous duty stations, including Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; and Antioch, Illinois, where her husband was stationed with the 347th Recruiting Squadron. With each move, she has made it a priority to engage with local organizations and build connections outside the military base.

Pippin emphasized the importance of these outside-the-gates relationships in everyday life, particularly in preparation for her family's transition to civilian life upon her husband's retirement from the military.

“You have a common understanding and a common ground for being in that community, and they help you and it helps build each other,” said Pippin. “It takes a village to raise your children and figure out the way forward through your life,and I think that's what is important about connecting to the community.”

In her role at 11th AF, Pippin plays a crucial part in community engagement, connecting off-base businesses and nonprofits with on-base activities and resources. She advocates for the needs of military families, ensuring access to essential services and opportunities for community involvement.

Pippin's recognition as a finalist underscores her commitment to both her career and her community. Her story serves as an inspiration to military spouses everywhere, showcasing the impact of their contributions beyond the gates of military installations.