Volunteer Spotlight


Spotlight on Tanna Schmidli

Chairman, Board of Governors 2006-2007

Many dedicated Volunteers give their talents and strengths, and commit themselves to the programs and policies of the National Military Family Association. These men and women strive to make the daily lives of military families better.

In the 1980’s, Tanna was President of the Spouse’s Club at Fort Stewart and was able to meet Volunteers from the Military Wives Association (MWA) before the Military Wives Association transitioned to the National Military Family Association. It was at Fort Stewart, in 1984, where she first became a member of our Association. She continued her affiliation with our Association as she traveled the globe, moving 14 times, during her husband’s military career.

In the spring of 2001, Tanna became an employee of the Association as the Director of Volunteer Services and Representatives. She officially “retired” when her husband did in 2003. She was elected to the Board of Governors served as Corporate Secretary from 2003-2004, and Chair of the Membership Advisory Committee in 2005. During 2006 and 2007, Tanna served as Chairman of the National Military Family Association.

From her varied positions, Tanna has observed the difficult adjustments military families had to make to cope with the years of deployments and increased operational tempo that developed following September 11, 2001. The constant stress on service members and their families led to an evolution in the size and scope of the Association and its mission.

Tanna believes the challenges military families face are the same as they have been throughout history. Family stresses are just becoming more complex and the deployments more frequent. Therefore, the Association must continue its legislative initiatives along with our Volunteers and Representatives at the forefront of the organization and visible in the communities that they serve.

Prior to 2004, the Association’s Board of Governors was responsible for the day to day workings of the Association. This included managing the budget, hiring and supervising both the paid staff and volunteers. However, one of Tanna’s most significant accomplishments led to a substantial change in the organization and function of the Association. The position of Executive Director was created to run the day to day operations of the Association. Doing so enabled the Board of Governors to put greater focus on achieving the strategic goals of the Association.

In May 2006, Tanna was the first and only Chairman to testify to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel Senate Armed Services Committee. The Association was the only organization invited to represent military families. During this time, much consideration was given to increasing the TRICARE enrollment fees, but a large focus was on support for military families. As war time deployments continued, the Association’s testimony was imperative to continue family readiness, support, and needs.
Tanna has observed a fairly steady increase in the breadth and scope of the Association's mission over the past 40 years. Tanna continues to believe the importance of the mission has always been significant and requires dedicated people to carry it out. She gives credit to those past Presidents who accomplished so much with no or few paid staff and very little money. The Association has been successful because of the efforts of Volunteers, Representatives, and staff working toward a common goal.

Tanna continues to serve as an advisor to the Association Chair. She stresses the importance of military families reaching out to each other, fully recognizing, no one individual can accomplish what a team can.

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Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.

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