Army veteran and registered dietitian Maria McConville, spouse of Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville, visited U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Oct. 23 through 25 to tour the installation and talk with personnel and military spouses about some of the challenges they face and the contributions they make to the community.
The tour included the Amelia Earhart Theater, two schools, the Wiesbaden Community Spouses' Club Thrift Shop, Army Family Housing, the Re-Use Center and the fitness center. She also met with home-based business entrepreneurs and volunteers. At the end of her time at USAG Wiesbaden, she participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Fall Bazaar.
"This has been a great learning experience for me," she said. "It is my honor to represent Army Families; Army spouses. I've been learning about the challenges with spouse employment, but also hearing the great things that our talented, creative, resourceful, resilient spouses do."
Gen. McConville identified his No. 1 priority as people.
"People are the ones that enable us," McConville said in an August article on Army.mil. "The strength of our Army is our people; that's our greatest weapons system."
Besides people, his top five focus areas are housing, conversion of the medical system to Defense Health Agency, spouse employment, military moves and child care.
During a luncheon with military spouse home-based business owners and senior leader spouses, Maria McConville said she could relate to the struggles Army spouses face in establishing a business and moving every few years.
"Spouse employment is near and dear to my heart," said McConville, who established her own home-based business to pursue her passion while traveling with her husband and their children where the Army took them.
The roundtable members, including Garrison Commander Col. Noah Cloud, identified specific challenges, such as tax issues, lack of continuity from one garrison to another and lack of information - and brainstormed possible solutions.
McConville reiterated her commitment to her platform of spotlighting Army spouses.
"I'm extremely passionate about the topic (of spouse employment)," she said. "I know that we have a lot of work to do, and (home-based businesses and spouse employment) will be a focus of mine."