527th MP Company FRG leader stands up for families
June 26, 2012
HOHENFELS, Germany-- Adriana Standifer is described by many as the best family readiness group leader they have ever seen. This role was one Standifer never saw coming.
Standifer was celebrating her 11th wedding anniversary January 2007 with her husband and two children in San Antonio when her husband shares that he enlisted in the Army.
Their lives changed drastically, as the Standifers' officially became a military family. She would have to leave a home and a job she loved and was apprehensive about what the future would bring.
Standifer and the children were finally able to join her husband at his first duty assignment with the 527th Military Police Company, 709th MP Battalion, 18th MP Brigade in February 2008, after his military schools and training.
The following month, her husband, Sgt. Kevin Standifer, received deployment orders and spent the next 15 months in Afghanistan. She was left in Hohenfels with her two children without any knowledge of Army life but caring for families came naturally to her.
One evening, she had to respond in a time of crisis for another military spouse. This tested her ability to handle situations many military families may have to endure.
"A neighbor was just notified that her husband was killed in action and called on me for help, and I was clueless, I didn't know anything about the Army, the notification process or the FRG's role," Standifer recalls. "I made a vow that night to make sure we [spouses] knew what to expect and to learn more about the whole process, as painful as it was."
When the time approached, Standifer had no hesitation to stand up to the plate as the new unit FRG leader, preparing for the second deployment since her family's arrival.
A person with the ability to multitask and remain neutral in many circumstances makes an excellent FRG leader. They need to be a role model to other spouses, keep families informed, provided resources and be a support system.
"Adriana is the total package; big heart, organized, calm under pressure, knowledgeable of Army support systems and is uniformly loved by the entire unit," said Lt. Col. Roger Hedgepeth, 709th MP Bn. commander.
"Adriana knew the company was deploying to a tough mission," said Hedgepeth. "She wanted the young spouses to have someone to talk to, know how to get help and what services were available in the community."
The 527th MP Co. tragically lost four Soldiers, three of which were a result of one improvised explosive device attack.
"When we went to homes to notify family members, Adriana went with us. She was a godsend as she comforted the spouses, organized casualty response teams, made sure the children were taken care of and guided the young spouses through this traumatic time," said Hedgepeth.
"She was there for everyone during that difficult time, day and night. She was strong for everyone," said Zerina Coley, 527th MP Co. spouse.
Hedgepeth attended a 527th MP Co., FRG meeting to present a volunteer award to Adriana. He was in awe when he saw the room filled with every single spouse and child of the 527th MP Co.
"It is the first time in my 28 years of service that I have seen every family member in the unit attend an FRG meeting," said, Hedgepeth. "When I presented Adriana with the award, she received a standing ovation, there was not a dry eye in the house."
The 527th MP Co. FRG became a tight family. Adriana ensured this by sharing meals together, celebrating holidays together and her children treated the wives like sisters.
Adriana is the type of mother who went to every sports game, every recital in addition to working as a teacher, but always found time to be there for her friends.
"She was always doing something to help others and made them feel like they were a part of her own family," said Coley. "Her optimism and enthusiasm are contagious and she genuinely cares about those around her."
Every meeting ended with one phrase by Standifer, "We may not always get along but we are family and we will be there for each other."