WASHINGTON, D.C. – She’s a jack of all trades and a master of many, especially when it comes to helping others out.
A Marine Corps wife of 10 years, Natasha Harth has a contagious enthusiasm for doing good. She was recently named 2016 Armed Forces Insurance Marine Corps Spouse of the Year ® for the imprint she is making. She’s a troop leader for the Girl Scouts, manager of the Air Force Officer Thrift Store, founder for a new non-profit organization, and a mom of two.
How does she do it all? She feeds off the responsibilities.
“I find my energy from being busy,” Natasha said. “Idle hands do not work for me, I tick off of being busy.”
Her husband is currently assigned to Marine Barracks Washington – a duty station she is lucky to love because of her deep family roots to the area. “The Washington/ Virginia/ Maryland area holds a lot of family history for me. Both my husband and I were born and raised in Virginia,” she said. Her stepfather’s cousins owned Hotel Washington where they would go for big family events, and her grandmother’s family owned a chicken farm that is now part of Fort Meade.
“In fact, the only thing I don’t love about the area is the traffic!” A detail anyone in that area can probably relate to.
Marine Wife Leaps into Community Heart First
Jumping In When You Don’t Know Where to Jump
When Natasha moved to the area, she was ready to jump right in and volunteer. But the change in dynamics in the area proved to be a new challenge. In a deploying atmosphere, the needs were right in front of her nose. Family readiness, classes teaching new spouses the ins and outs of the Marine Corps, and parenting as a large group during deployments, were perfect opportunities to get involved.
“Here in Washington D.C., there is no set Marine Corps Barracks. We all lived scattered about,” Natasha explained. “I wasn’t sure how to get involved. It took me a little bit of time to change my mindset. This is a huge community, not just military, and I simply asked what help was needed.”
What was needed was help for the homeless population. The donations and support rolled in so quickly that she was able to expand to help a local school, military retirees, and military families with the things they needed. “I’m sprinkling love and food everywhere,” Natasha said. “It was not an overnight thing, I was a bit out of my element starting out, but it was a great learning process.”
Food Is Her Love Language
The amount of time food and cooking was brought up in our conversation made sense as soon as I learned that Natasha’s husband is a chef. They spend quality time together, usually in the kitchen. “He wooed me with his cooking,” she laughed. “And, we bond over food. Food is love to us.”
The perk of her husband’s job is that it lends stability to their life. After 16 years in the Marine Corps, they can stay in Washington as long as they want, which Natasha says they’ll probably do unless something else comes along. “We found our village, we like the idea of stability,” she said.
Aside from being a part of their own love story, food has been a path to building community as the new kids on the block. “When we arrived at our new house, my husband invited everyone over for food. And he was serious,” she said.
Why Get Involved?
“I like to volunteer to find people of similar interests,” Natasha said. It’s challenging to move and have to spend time finding your people all over again. It’s even harder when it’s a short move. She feels it’s important to get involved, even if the orders are only for a few months.
“You can’t live your life 2 years at a time. After 20 years, what will you have?”
Volunteering puts you in a great place to meet new people. “It’s hard finding your village,” Natasha said, “But volunteering helps with that.” She likes to help with meal trains and finds that when cooking as a group for someone who needs it, it is easier to forge friendships with people who have similar interests.
“If you’re ever in the D.C. area and know someone who is hungry, I’ve got your back,” she added.
Do you share Natasha’s love of volunteering? How can you vote for her?
Natasha Harth is one of six branch winners vying for the 2016 Military Spouse of the Year award. National voting will open up online this Thursday, March 3rd. The eventual representative will be the face of the military spouse community for an entire year while being a voice for those issues impacting the community. Click here to learn more about Natasha and to cast your vote: VOTE FOR NATASHA HARTH
The 2016 Armed Force Insurance Military Spouse of the Year ® winner will be announced on May 5th at the award ceremony in Washington, D.C.