NY Air Guard colonel's wife is Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year for the National Guard

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Barbara Olney
  • 174th Attack Wing

SYRACUSE, New York --Cindy Meili, the wife of Col John Meili, the commander of the New York Air National Guard’s 152nd Air Intelligence Squadron, a component of the 174th Attack Wing, has been named Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year for the National Guard.

Meili is assistant director for the Onondaga county veteran’s service agency in Syracuse, N.Y.

Online voting will determine whether or not she is declared the insurance company’s overall winner in May.

The company’s award highlights military spouses who have made exceptional contributions to their community and who have a “deep commitment to the military community and our country”, according to the company.

According to the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year website, the award was founded in 2008.

Meili was nominated by her husband.

“She does a lot and deserves to be recognized, Col. Meili said. “Our spouses are in this with us, at some point we have to recognize the contributions of our families. I am going to stand by her side,” he explained

“I had no idea the impact of that award had and I was quickly going to learn,” Meili said.

“While attending a town hall in D.C. that brought in spouses across the country, she saw the impact that spouses have on the military community,” Meili said.

“They were changing policies and raising awareness and advocating for change for our military families,” she said.

Meili said she understands the difficulties military families go through.
She has been a military spouse for 29 years and has been through her husband’s move from the Active Air Force to the New York Air National Guard.

She soon realized that the Guard can be called upon at any time and that the current programs available to active duty families are not readily available to Guard families with members on long term active duty status, Meili said.

“By creating awareness within our surrounding communities we are better able to understand how we can support National Guard members and their families,” Meili said. “By opening channels of communication we can build local networks and collaborative partnerships that will bring program’s and services yielding results.”
Meili volunteers as a member of the National Military Spouses Advocacy Network, National Military Family Advisory Network and is a Key Spouse mentor.

These programs allow her to engage with family members and create a community of educating and mentoring while a family member is on a deployment or temporary duty.

She has spent countless hours helping veterans or military members transitioning as a civilian by updating many programs for the community that will assist them.

Military Spouse of the Year final nominees are judged in five categories: leadership, communication, involvement, community building and compelling story.

Votes for the ultimate winner have already been cast and the winner will be announced on May 5 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, Arlington V.A.

The 174th Attack Wing, which is based at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse operates the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. The wing conducts operational MQ-9 missions and trains pilots and sensor operators and MQ-9 maintenance Airmen.