By Marine Corps Cpl. Laura Gauna
1st Marine Logistics Group
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Jan. 30, 2014 – The men and women in uniform are not the only ones making a difference in the 1st Marine Logistics Group here.
Dannielle Maxwell, a family readiness assistant with 1st MLG, dedicates her time to ensure the Marines and their families within Combat Logistics Regiment 17 transition smoothly into military life.
Dannielle, wife of Gunnery Sgt. Dustin Maxwell, Landing Support Co. Gunnery Sergeant, CLR-17, 1st MLG, distinguished herself throughout 2013 for her hard work and dedication to her family, community, and her husband’s unit. She was honored as the 1st MLG Spouse of the Year.
“It feels wonderful to be named the Spouse of the Year,” Dannielle said. “I am really grateful. My advice for other military spouses is just to get out there, meet people and volunteer.”
Throughout this year, she not only found time for her family life, but also used her experience as a Marine spouse to help 1st MLG families prepare for upcoming deployments.
She logged more than 600 volunteer hours supporting the Family Readiness Officer, volunteered as an aide at her son’s school, coached her children’s sports teams, assisted with Marine Corps Ball fundraisers and became the curriculum team leader for the Leadership Education Seminar, which educates spouses on taking leadership roles.
“I’m really proud of what she does,” said Dustin, her husband of almost 10 years. “She volunteers, works hard and sincerely likes helping Marines.”
For the last three years Dannielle received letters of appreciation from 1st MLG’s commanding generals.
“Dannielle took [her position as a volunteer] a step further,” said Curtis Winfree, a 46-year-old Family Readiness Officer with Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st MLG, of Houston. “She not only did what was required but she went above and beyond. She has been to almost every homecoming we have had and provided valuable input. She has taken almost every class available to help her keep the unit up to date on valuable information. I would not hesitate to put her up for a FRO position. She is ready and understands the responsibility she would have on her shoulders.”
Dannielle certainly knows the ropes when it comes to the unit, as well as the military life in general.
She grew up in a military household. Her father, a National Guardsman, served in Operation Desert Storm when she was young. Her experience then impacts her life now.
“When my father deployed to Desert Storm it was just [my mother, sister and me] for the longest time,” said Dannielle, a 28-year-old native of Rapid City, S.D. “I remember having awesome community support. I learned to have an open mind about people. I learned there is always somebody somewhere going through something a lot worse than you are, and it’s important to lend a helping hand.”
Her ability to adapt stems from more than 28 years of combined experience being a military child and wife. She knows firsthand what it feels like to be in a new place with nobody to turn to.
“When I was a new spouse it was nice knowing [other spouses] took the time to help me [transition into the new life style],” she said. “That's why I do what I do. Those spouses really helped me then, and I want to do that for others as well.”
While giving so much of her time back to the Marine Corps community might seem overwhelming to some, Dannielle explains that it has always been what she has wanted to do.
“We used to joke that during [my husband’s] Marine Corps career, he is off saving the world, and I’d always say, ‘When you’re done being GI Joe, I get to save the world on my terms,’” she said. “I just couldn’t wait around anymore.”
Dannielle and her husband will soon move to Iwakuni, Japan, where she will have yet another opportunity to impact the community.