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Alumna Earns 2024 Military Spouse Finalist Nod

Jenny Lynne Stroup '00

Suffolk’s Jenny Lynne Stroup '00 is being recognized for her work in community building.

Stroup, who serves as Military Spouse Programs Deputy Director for Hiring Our Heroes, was nominated as a finalist for AFI’s 2024 Military Spouse of the Year. This is not the first time she’s been noticed for her work either. This follows Stroup’s winning the 2022 Naval Station Norfolk Spouse of the Year for her work in the military community in service to her and other families with a firm community foundation.

"My life as a military spouse has been directly impacted by the community that I surround myself with, and I am grateful every day that I am part of the military spouse community," Stroup said. "A big portion of this role has been what you advocate for, and mine is community building. We cannot do life alone."

Growing up in the Chuckatuck borough, Stroup met her husband of 15 years and stayed in the Hampton Roads area for the first few years of his military career before moving to New York City. Stroup says that the move was difficult, as she and her family found themselves as the only military family civilians had ever met.

"Which forced me to learn how to be in a community when we didn’t have a military installation and the things that come with that. There was no family readiness group, there was no command," she said. "I had to learn how to make friends and have people in my life for three years when there was no ready-made military group."

Recalling being invited as a panelist for the Theatre of War program to share their experience of war through their lens, Stroup shared her experience of being at home with her husband at war. After sharing her story with the audience at Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum, Stroup says that a young woman said she "didn’t know there were people like you."

"I think she was genuinely surprised that service members have families. It’s not just this single dude going off and doing stuff. They have families and things," Stroup said. "That was in 2015. I had been a military spouse for a little more than six years, and that had set the tone for me moving forward. Like, if that person didn’t know I existed, who else doesn’t know, right?"

Following her family’s move to San Diego, California, Stroup returned to the Hampton Roads area in 2021 with a mission to better bridge the gap between the military and civilian communities by sharing her story and her experiences with others.

"I’ve done it through writing and through podcasting and just kind of sharing the modern military family story through the lens of my own family, where we’ve had challenges and where we had great things happen. I just continue to share it," Stroup said. "I had told a story that I think may be very military heavy, it’s about post-deployment, and yet the feelings that I am talking about resonate with people who have never done a deployment. So there is a lot of connection."

For what’s next for Stroup following her second nomination, she says she hopes to continue using her writing and her voice to bridge the gap between the two communities and the enduring strength of military spouses.

"You will not find a more flexible, adaptable human being than a military spouse and so, I think continuing to share our experience, strength and hope with folks is where I see the most impact," Stroup said.

This article first appeared in the Suffolk News-Herald.


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