Meet Our Writers: Military Spouse Writing Program

Written by Alita Miller


Meet Our Authors

The Armed Services YMCA is honored to work with six talented writers. Each of these extraordinary women shares a common bond: they are the wives of military members. But they are more than spouses—they are mothers, professionals, students, and hobbyists. These women come from different backgrounds, but all have gained wisdom and experience in navigating the unique challenges of military life—wisdom and experience they are graciously sharing to help other military families adapt and thrive.

The Armed Services YMCA is proud to introduce you to Tessarose, Valerie, Ashley, Jeanine, TeLeah, and Susannah.


Tessarose Brown

Tessarose Brown

Tessarose has been a part of the Army family since she was 8 years old when her father (now retired) enlisted and has been an Army Wife for nearly two years. She and her husband are high school sweethearts who met on an Army installation in Germany (Class of 2009). They are the proud parents of a rambunctious and independent two-year-old daughter.

Tessarose has a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and previously worked as a paraprofessional in Child and Youth Services specializing in Youth Development and Boys and Girls Clubs of America programs for six years. She plans to get a Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis on Military Social Work. She is passionate about youth programs, mentorship, resilience training, and education. In her free time, she enjoys reading, puzzles, and watching medical and criminal dramas. She is excited about this opportunity to share her experiences and fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a professional writer.


HQ-MSWP-2022-ValerieValerie McCarley

Valerie McCarley is the spouse of an active-duty service member and is a proud advocate for the entire military community. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Central Missouri and a Master of Science in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. Valerie enjoys lifelong learning, reading, puppy snuggles, spending time by the ocean, and home organization.


HQ-MSWP-2022-AshleyAshley Owings

Ashley Owings is an Army and Navy Veteran, the spouse of an active-duty service member, and the mommy to a miracle IVF baby after suffering seven years of infertility. Ashley is currently Armed Forces Insurance Fort Bragg Military Spouse of the Year and has also held the title of 2020’s Mrs. Eastern Carolina America. Ashley has received both her Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree from American Military University. Ashley enjoys advocating for veterans, infertility and suicide awareness, post-partum resources, and the military family.


 HQ-MSWP-2022-JeanineJeanine Rickman

Jeanine Rickman has been a military spouse for over 10 years and in that time has participated with her three children in ASYMCA programs and activities. Using her background in the Arts and cultural anthropology to bring a unique perspective, she is dedicated to helping other military families explore these programs and make the most of the opportunities offered. She is excited to share more of her story, the stories of other military families, and help other military families along the way.


 HQ-MSWP-2022-TeLeahTeLeah Thurston

TeLeah is an Army OEF Veteran, wife to an Army soldier, and mother of four children. TeLeah currently serves as an Executive Assistant to Carla R Cannon Enterprises and Lawrence Life, LLC. She is a homemaker and the founder of BossLifeMom where she provides guidance and support to mothers who require assurance in their relationships and family structure. The mission of BossLifeMom is to create a village of mothers who encourage and inspire each other despite differences in parenting. TeLeah leads a space for mothers sharing her personal experiences of raising four children, aged 2-5, while balancing relationships, entrepreneurship & navigating the military lifestyle.


 HQ-MSWP-2022-SusannahSusannah Wruk

Susannah has been a Navy spouse for 3 years and has lived in Oregon, Hawai’i, Washington, and California. She is currently studying at Grand Canyon University in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education. She has one 2-year-old son and one baby on the way due in early 2023! In her free time, Susannah enjoys knitting, crocheting, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and spending time with her family.