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Fort Riley spouse receives ‘Army Spouse of Year,’ vies for ‘Military Spouse of Year’

By Jessica Healey | POST | April 04, 2014

Reda Hicks, the 2014 Fort Riley Spouse of the Year and the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year will now compete for the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year.

The competition’s winner will be announced in May.

“I was thrilled to learn that I was Fort Riley Spouse of the Year. I knew several terrific women were nominated for Fort Riley, and any of them would have done an amazing job in the role. So learning I won was a huge honor,” Reda said. Reda is the wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jacob Hicks, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, who is deployed.

“It is an incredible honor for my wife to win the Army Spouse of the  Year, and I look forward to helping her obtain her goal of making the military a better place for our spouses,” Jacob said.

A native Texan, Reda was born and raised in Odessa, Texas. After going to college and law school, she began to practice law.

Reda met her husband while on a business trip in the Philippines. It was then that their longdistance relationship began, one Reda said has been sustained by letters.

The couple has one son, Howie, and said they hope to adopt another child from the Philippines within the next year.

Reda resides in Houston with Howie, while Jacob follows his career in the Army.

“Deciding to be a remote family was really hard, but in some ways, there was really no decision to make. I went to an amazing law school, but I came out of that law school with sizeable student loan debt. Big enough that it is necessary for me to work in order for us to handle it,” Reda said.

“Reda and I have not lived under the same roof since we have been married, but we make it work,” Jacob said. “We make the most of our time together every chance we get. We try to see each other at least every other weekend, if possible, when I’m not deployed. Our occupations have forced us to live apart. I’m always bouncing to a new duty station every couple of years. My wife’s occupation requires her to be licensed in any state that she practices in, and the process usually takes a year or so.”

In addition to her work as a lawyer, raising a son and supporting a Soldier remotely, Reda also has spent a considerable amount of time volunteering.

“I have been volunteering in some capacity or another since I was a small child,” Reda said. “It’s a legacy that Jake and I have worked hard to pass along to our son, too. It was a no-brainer that I would serve my community when I became an Army wife.”

Living remotely helped inspire Reda to advocate for military spouses, she said.

Her most notable volunteer efforts have been with the Military Spouse Jurist Doctorate Network, an organization designed to help support military spouses who also are lawyers.

The network is advocating for licensing accommodations for military spouses to help them continue their careers, while moving with the Army.

“So many professions require licenses state-by-state – law, teaching, real estate, all of the medical professions. And, many families need both incomes to make ends meet,” she said. “In my organization – Military Spouse JD Network – a survey of our nearly 900 military spouse attorney members showed that one in four have had to live remotely.”

Reda is a board member for the MSJD network and said she plans to continue to that work as the Army Spouse of the Year and the Military Spouse of the Year, if she wins.

She also said she would work with the other branch winners to continue their volunteer efforts as well.

“I think it’s incredible that, in addition to recognizing service and leadership, the Military Spouse of the Year program also builds a network of diverse, capable leaders, each of whom make a difference on their own, but working together, will have amplified impact in military communities across the country. Together, we are voice amplifiers for the whole community,” Reda said.

Spouses are the advocates for the services members that cannot always advocate for themselves, she said.

“It is an incredible honor for my wife to win the Army Spouse of the Year, and I look forward to helping her obtain her goal of making the military a better place for our spouses,” Jacob said.