A Kaiserslautern Military Com-munity spouse was honored for her contributions to local German and American communities by the Atlantic Academy, Sept. 30, during German-American Day 2017 in Ramstein-Miesenbach.
Sugin Musgrave, Ramstein Military Spouse of the Year in 2014 and 2016, contributes her time and knowledge to support U.S. families who are adjusting to living in Germany. She provides education and information through blogs, videos, classes, field trips and Facebook pages, as well as her own personal website to help individuals prosper as members of their German communities.
“A lot of volunteering is done behind the scenes,” said Musgrave. “When I see a need or problem I can help with, I help. I have assisted in making a guide for German landlords to give to Americans explaining everything I could think of that I did not know beforehand. Some examples of that are how to use and clean the dishwasher, heating, keeping my house cool, and using ovens and more.”
Musgrave uses her knowledge to help strengthen German-American community ties.
“Musgrave is a very active member of the military community who is supporting fellow American families to get settled in the area quickly by providing a lot of information about various areas of life,” said John Constance, Atlantic Academy project manager. “Her long-lasting and dedicated volunteer work is a textbook example of the impact everybody in the German and American community can have with his or her efforts to strengthen our German-American relationship and give back to the community.”
Musgrave, a native of Detroit, volunteers to give back to the local communities while gaining self-fulfillment by simply helping others through their transition to Germany.
“When I started, this was a hobby,” said Musgrave. “It was a way to help others not feel so scared and overwhelmed when they arrived here. I have learned how much the information I provided is needed by the communities. What has been given back to me are some amazing friendships. Meeting people who have been helped by my videos and blogs is awesome; it is really nice to know that I am helping so many.”
When Musgrave and her husband, Master Sgt. James Musgrave, U.S. Air Forces in Europe command mishap reporting and traffic outreach manager, arrived in Germany, they were inundated with many unknowns about the German way of life.
“When our family first got to Germany I felt overwhelmed,” said Musgrave. “There was a spouse I met at the bus stop who helped me. She took me shopping off base and I learned a lot. She inspired me to help others with that and more,” Musgrave said. “There is so much to learn. It is hard to find the information in English or sometimes there is no information at all. If I can help one person not feel alone and overwhelmed, then it is all worth it.”
There have been two occasions that stick out in Musgrave’s mind when she reflects on the times she has helped others.
“On my KMC lost-and-found pets page, I helped reunite a lost cat with its owners who had moved back to the U.S.,” she said. “When the cat was recovered a few months later, it was flown home. “The other occasion was when a spouse stayed after one of my classes and thanked me for saving her marriage,” Musgrave said. “She explained in one of my videos I said, ‘if I can do it, you can do it.’ This gave her strength to work through their marital issues revolving around their recent PCS.”
One of Musgrave’s key pieces of advice to newcomers is to always ask questions.
“Moving here is stressful, and not understanding all the new things in Germany adds to that stress, but don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “There are many wonderful people to help both on and off base.”
When Musgrave discovered she was being honored for her efforts, she was caught off guard.
“My family is very proud and loves that I am being recognized for all of the hard work I have done,” she said. “Personally, I hope that being honored helps encourage other American spouses to reach out to German communities, helping to bridge the gap of sharing information that has major impacts on our daily life.”
Musgrave has a big impact on local communities and she is appreciated by many.
“I’m thankful to have met such a dedicated person committing a large portion of her free time to keep fellow American families not just informed but also safe during their stay in Germany,” said Constance. “She supports so many service members and their families and her far reaching, longstanding efforts are impressive.”