Join us in recognizing our local Military Spouses & Little Heroes for their unending strength, personal sacrifices, support for their military families and for their selfless commitment to our communities. The Heroes at Home Military Spouses of the Year & Little Heroes at Home will be chosen from nominees provided by actively serving personnel from all branches of the military, spouse support groups, charitable organizations, friends & family. The finalists and winners for both Military Spouses and Little Heroes at Home will be announced at the awards luncheons in each region.
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Sue Hoppin is a nationally recognized expert on military spouse and family issues working to bridge the cultural gap between government, private and public groups and military communities. She is an advocate, published author and consultant with more than 20 years of experience and expertise in military community programs. She has a proven record of developing programs focusing on military issues, serving as spokesperson for various organizations and committees, and reaching out to train top tier military-affiliated groups, veteran/military services organizations, and key leadership within major military commands. She frequently speaks around the country at conferences and leadership training programs.
In 2012, Sue was appointed by President Obama to the Board of Visitors of the United States Air Force Academy; she completed her tenure in 2018 as the board's Vice Chairman. In 2010, Sue founded the National Military Spouse Network, a professional development and networking membership organization supporting the professional career and entrepreneurial goals of military spouses. Before founding the NMSN, Sue served as the first deputy director for spouse outreach for the Military Officers Association of America, charged with creating and spearheading military spouse initiatives for the 375,000 member association. In 2007, Sue co-authored, “A Family’s Guide to the Military” for the popular Dummies series; the book was selected for First Lady of the Marine Corp’s Recommended Reading List in 2012. In recognition of her accomplishments, Military Spouse Magazine named Sue on both their 2007 and 2008 Who’s Who of Military Spouses list recognizing those who have made significant contributions in the military community for all military spouses; making her the only person to be named on the list two years in a row.
Sue is an avid volunteer having served on as the President of the Madeira School Alumni Council (2017 - present), Board of Directors for Blue Star Families (2010 – 2013) and as Military Family Liaison to Fairfax County School Superintendent’s Business and Community Advisory Council (2009-2012). Recognition for her volunteer efforts include: nominee for USAF’s Joan Orr Spouse of the Year (2007); 76th Airlift Squadron Spouse of the Year, Germany (2002); Volunteer of the Year at McConnell AFB, KS (1999). For 9 years, she served as the Publicity Chairman on the Air Force Charity Ball Committee that has raised over $7.5 million for the Air Force Aid Society since its inception in 2004.
Sue holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Oklahoma and a certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University.
Chelsea Mandello is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Troopster Military Care Packs.
Troopster is a 501c3 cause-driven organization that helps friends, families and communities send care packages to deployed troops during their deployments. Or, as Chelsea describes it, “Troopster is the Amazon of Care Packs. Moms, dads, spouses; anyone can visit the Troopster.org website and send their son, daughter or loved one a care pack easily and without any trouble.”
Chelsea served in the United States Navy from 2011 -2018, where she deployed across 13 countries and nine Navy platforms as a Mass Communications Specialist and Photojournalist. With the military, she received numerous honors for her dedication to duty, serving alongside Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen in dozens of operations, ship-to-shore maneuvers, visit-board-search and seizure missions, antipiracy operations and many more. As a photojournalist, Chelsea saw first-hand the accomplishments, capabilities, and bravery exuded by those in the Armed Forces.
It was during her experiences with the military that Chelsea was inspired to establish Troopster. Launching while still serving actively in the U.S. Navy, Chelsea has grown Troopster from a small business out of her home, filling care packages after standing 48-hour watches, to an organization that has sent more than 26,000 care packages to U.S. troops world-wide.
Chelsea has been recognized for multiple achievement awards, including the Still Serving Award, Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Person of the Year (2018), Microsoft Empower Possibility Award, and Verizon Salute. She is currently studying at William and Mary, for her Executive Master’s of Business Administration where she hopes to utilize her education to further the impact of Troopster.
Chelsea’s goal is to continue growing Troopster to be the house-hold name for military care