You're originally from California. How did you end up in Columbus?
My husband, Alfred, is a cook in the Army. We got married in December 1997, in between his basic training and advanced individual training. We were stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., after he spent a year in Korea and then in Germany for three years. In May 2005, we came to Fort Benning. After a second tour to Iraq and a second tour to Korea, Alfred ended up getting stationed at Fort Stewart, but my children and I have been living here in Columbus ever since 2005.
From a career standpoint, what's the biggest challenge facing military spouses?
We have been a military family going on 16 years now, and I would say that, for me, the biggest challenge in the last few years has been the separation due to multiple deployments, training out of state, and duty station changes. We have four children, and it's not easy being married but also being a single parent because my husband deploys a lot. We're praying that he can return to Fort Benning to finish out his last four years before retirement.
In addition to your role at Tastee Cookie Company, you also work at Martin Army Community Hospital. How do you balance the two jobs?
When we first started the business, my husband and my dad helped me and my oldest daughter, LaRae, get the business off the ground. My dad would work at the shop until I got off work and LaRae got out of school. My husband would make sure that we were operating properly and efficiently since he's a cook.
Once LaRae graduated, she was able to work in the bake shop full-time during the day, and then I would still come in after working at Martin Army and stay up late getting everything ready for the next day's business. We have a few volunteers that help us from time to time with daily operations and community events. I still come in after work on base and do what needs to be done to serve our customers.
Let's settle a great cookie debate. Crunchy or chewy?
Both! A chewy cookie just melts in your mouth and makes you want to eat more, especially when they've just come out of the oven. A crunchy cookie and a tall glass of ice cold milk is a sweet activity. The cookie softens up because of all the dipping and then the fun begins with all the slurping and chewing!