Experiences as a ‘military brat’ help AER officer in efforts to serve Soldiers, Families

A woman sits in her office and smiles at the camera.

Karl Weisel | U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Family and MWR | Sept. 12, 2022

WIESBADEN, Germay — A self-professed former “military brat,” Tawana Ballard said having experienced military life from the inside helped her empathize with service members and their families she now serves as Army Community Service’s Army Emergency Relief Officer.

“I’m proud of having a military upbringing which helped with stability. “It’s how I grew up,” said Ballard, who was born in Erlangen, Germany, during her father’s 30-year career in the U.S. Army, but calls Lawton, Oklahoma, home.

Her dad’s efforts and influence to help fellow Soldiers guided her in her current position, she said, describing instances she recalled from childhood where her father steered young Soldiers toward AER support for financial assistance.

“It’s really incredible,” said Ballard, describing the feeling of having a direct impact on Soldiers’ lives when providing financial relief. “I’m pleased to work in a field that provides assistance to our military Soldiers and their families.”

Before working for the military, Ballard said she managed child care which helped her understand the importance of family connection in serving military families. “Whether in the States running a full-time child care service or being readily accessible to active duty service members, retirees, and their families members. I take pride in what I do … providing Soldiers with financial relief, so they can focus on their mission and not have the stress of worrying about financial concerns.”

Having served in Wiesbaden with Army Community Service (and the Department of Defense) for the past year-and-a-half, Ballard and her family will soon be moving back to the United States in October.

“Being able to revisit my birth country has been an exciting experience that I have been able to share with my husband and two children. It has been a pleasure for my children to experience a different country and culture. I hope one day when they reach adulthood and have children of their own they will give their children the same experience and opportunity.”

“I have enjoyed my time here in Wiesbaden and working for Army Community Service,” she said. “I have been inspired and have built relationship with my coworkers and other families I have met. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve with a cohesive team at Army Community Service.”

“I’m a person who has a passion for helping people,” she added. “That will always be important to me.”