Month: March 2021

The Human Connection: How an Army Vet Provides Support to Today’s Service Members (and How You Can, Too)

Start with an Military Care Package from My Hero Crate

Ellyse Corbeil is an expert at helping people.

During her seven-year stint in the Navy, during which she was deployed three times on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and at Guantanamo Bay, she served as a religious program specialist. She was tasked with helping Navy sailors and officers navigate through big emotions and obstacles related to life — work-related or not.

“I helped people on a human level,” Ellyse explained. “If you were struggling with your career, we could coach you or help you find a better fit.”

She also recalled a time she and her team helped a very young sailor find connections – his peers where he was stationed, dealing with the same things —  to help him feel better and see he wasn’t alone.

“We didn’t always want to give a solution,” she said. “We wanted them to figure it out, with our nudging and guidance.”

Advice for Everyone Enduring Military Life

The most important piece of advice for anyone traversing difficulties while deployed, changing duty stations, or dealing with any other issue, Ellyse said, is to find healthy connections.

These connections include family and friends back home who you should re-establish regular contact with and new people around you, who you share things in common with. 

Healthy connections help you see how others have dealt with similar issues, give you a sounding board for advice, and relieve the pangs of homesickness or loneliness. 

How to Help Your Hero Away from Home

You don’t have to be a skilled counselor or mental health expert to make your military hero feel better about being away from home or missing their family.

“Do the best of your ability to provide support,” Ellyse advises. “And do what you can to not stress out service members while they’re deployed.”

Her top recommendation for spreading good cheer to deployed service members? Sending care packages and mail.

“They make people happy,” she said. “When they receive their packages, they share their treats. A care package is never wasted.”

Ellyse recalls the happiness that comes from receiving an armed forces care package in the mail, which is why she still sends them regularly —  and lots of them —  to her friends who are still enlisted.

“I love the My Hero Crate concept, because it makes sending a care package so easy,” she said. “Especially if you aren’t sure what your loved one wants, or if they aren’t the kind of person to openly ask for items.”

Send a monthly military care package to your service member through the subscription program from My Hero Crate, so your loved one feels connected to home.

Using Military Resources

The Navy isn’t the only branch of the military with a religious program specialist. In fact, the same role exists in the Marine Corps, and in the Air Force and Army, it’s called chaplain assistant, although Ellyse acknowledges being religious had nothing at all to do with her role.

If your service member needs to talk to someone, Ellyse said it was easy to reach out. They could call, email, or show up in the office at any time.

Fleet and Family Support Programs are another option for service members and their immediate family members living on base. Counseling and helping with family issues is their specialty, along with helping people transition to their new duty station and to life in the Navy in general.

Feel At Home in Your Rental with These Decorating Tips

Make Your Current Duty Station Home Feel Cozy!

Moving from duty station to duty station gets old quickly, and settling into another temporary home is no longer novel or interesting. And it’s hard to make something feel like home when you don’t have much control over the finishes inside your new home. Such is the nature of renting or living in base housing.

Thankfully, there are creative ways you can make your new living space feel more like home, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to do it!

Your favorite service member care package experts have a few tips for customizing your rental home. Check them out – and show us if you brought one to life in your space, by tagging us on social media @myherocrate. 

Apply Removable Wallpaper

It’s possible your landlord or military housing restrictions won’t let you paint the walls of your home. It’s really unfortunate, because sometimes a pop of color on a wall can be the difference between a cold, uninviting space to one that feels like you belong.

Instead of paint, consider applying removable wallpaper to an accent wall in your bedroom or living room. Unlike years past, there are so many awesome and beautiful designs to choose from! Removable wallpaper is usually a simple peel-and-stick product that doesn’t require any additional adhesive. 

The Low-Down on Washi Tape

Washi tape is a removable paper tape that comes on small rolls. It’s usually brightly colored or patterned, and it comes in just as many options – if not more – as that removable wallpaper we talked about earlier.

You can use strips of washi tape to create patterns on your walls, or to add stripes to plain, builder-grade kitchen cabinets. And because washi tape peels right off, there isn’t an issue with your customization!

Get Stainless Steel Appliances

No, you don’t have to purchase thousands of dollars in kitchen appliances for a rental home! But you can purchase an inexpensive roll of stainless steel contact paper and apply it to your dishwasher and other appliances to transform your kitchen.

Contact paper is designed to be durable, and it’s easily cleaned. You’ll be shocked at how big of a change you can get in your most-used room of your house with just a $5 product.

Go Green

Live plants add warmth and coziness to a room, and they can be an inexpensive way to decorate your apartment or house without doing any alterations at all.

Visit the local plant nursery and talk to an expert about the kinds of plants that might thrive in your living space. Then, purchase a few decorative pots to plant your new greenery in, and distribute them around your home.

If you have to move and can’t take them with you, give them to a friend living near the duty station, so they can enjoy some living decor, too.

Shower Head Swap

If you hate your rental home’s bathroom, you might be able to change how you feel about it simply by swapping out the shower head! This easy fix can cost as little as $12 and will make your showers feel more luxurious. Just be sure to swap back to the original one before you move out.

Use Room Dividers to Your Advantage

You obviously can’t build a floor-to-ceiling temporary wall in a rental home, so what do you do if you need to carve out a bit of space for a specific purpose? A room divider holds your answer.

Divide a bedroom in two to give privacy to siblings sharing a bedroom, or separate a section of the living room to create a small home office. Not enough closet space? Use a divider to conceal a rolling clothes rack or other unattractive clothing storage solution in a corner of the bedroom.

Fill Your Pantry

Keep your pantry stocked with snack favorites that make your new place feel more like home. It’s easy when you order a military care package from My Hero Crate.

When your beloved service member returns home from work for the day, they can settle in with a quick snack before dinner, and when your kids want an after-school treat, you’ll have one on hand without having to look for everyone’s favorites at your new grocery store. Order your military care package

On Your Team: How an Army Spouse Helps People Improve their Wellbeing

Celebrate Accomplishments with a Military Care Package from My Hero Crate

Louise Valentine has been bucking tradition for years. Before completing her undergraduate degree, she started her own business — the first one. She never stops learning, as evidenced by the alphabet soup behind her name — five major credentials she’s earned over the years to stay at the top of her field. And she’s mastered the art of living without separating work and play.

Oh, she’s also an Army wife, currently stationed in Maryland with her husband and two children, after moving nine times in 11 years, enjoying a full-time career and side gig dedicated to helping people live healthful lives, physically and mentally. The latest way she’s done that is by writing and self-publishing a book on a wildly abbreviated timeline.

You might find yourself feeling exhausted thinking about accomplishing all of that in a single lifetime. But Louise isn’t. She focuses on the driving force behind everything she does, and sticks with it.

My purpose is to help others find realistic ways to live a vibrant, healthy life,” she explained.

Building a Foundation

Louise, a military wifeConsidered a wellness expert, Louise started her career as a sports and medical massage therapist for the NFL when she lived in Ohio. However, after marrying her combat aviator active duty husband, she moved to New York state to join him at his duty station.

After years of re-engineering her career at each new duty station, Louise was awarded a research fellowship with the Army, where she could utilize her health expertise. During her two-hour daily commute, she planned Team Valentine Project, an online comprehensive health resource, at

As she drove, she’d dictate notes into her phone and transfer the information to a later blog post. The platform shares tips, tricks, and tools for leading a healthful life, with Louise’s experience as a military spouse sprinkled throughout.

Unbeknownst to Louise, the health tool she created in her spare time would go on to help her land a leadership role at a healthcare technology company, Vheda Health, where she works as the Director of Client Services. It’s a position that allows her to help Medicaid, Medicare, and employer group high-risk populations find ways to navigate chronic disease and improve their overall wellness.

And that’s a task that Louise is no stranger to, herself.

Overcoming Obstacles

In a short span of time, Louise received major medical diagnoses that would change how she approached her work: osteoporosis, and a pre-cancer diagnosis mid-pandemic last summer. And then her dad received his own cancer diagnosis.

Louise had already been writing about how to break down challenges and researching how to do it. But her dad’s health was the motivation she needed to turn her thoughts into a concise book that she wanted published as soon as possible, that her dad could hold in his hands, and see that he had been a success at instilling his values in her.

She also saw an opportunity to help people suffering during the global COVID-19 pandemic. So, she got to work in June. She was finished by October, just as her dad completed his month-long ICU stay because of coronavirus.

“When we’re motivated to help others and see the impact we have on them, it’s powerful and energizes you,” she said.

Her book, now available on Amazon, is called The Art of Breaking Through: Five Simple Steps to Take on Any Challenge & Tackle Self-Doubt. While writing, she channeled how she navigated out of her own dark moments in life to overcome obstacles and come out on the other side better than ever.

“We are all perfectly capable of overcoming obstacles,” Louise said. “The more we recognize that, the more we can do and take on.”

Although the final version of her book is quite short, Louise explained that it was intentional, so that her readers could quickly begin to take charge of their wellbeing rather than devoting too much time to grappling with overly-complicated concepts. Her goal was to empower others to change their lives, and she is confident her short book accomplishes that within its 68 pages.

Tips You Can Follow, Starting Today

Making small changes with great intentions can help you navigate out of a difficult place. Louise says these starting points can help you change the things in your life that aren’t working for you.

-Take a stress inventory. Think about the responsibilities you’re juggling and what you actually need to accomplish in the moment to begin feeling better. Choose what really matters, and start there.

-Recognize that you may need to re-engineer your goals. What you might’ve been able to accomplish under other circumstances could be different because of your current situation.

-Find what works for you by looking to those who are successful as your inspiration. Use their techniques to optimize your time and energy, but don’t restrict yourself to assuming their way is the only way to do things. Ask for help when you need it; find a support system.

-Honor the struggle. Anticipate that obstacles and challenges will appear. When you acknowledge that, you’re less stressed when they arise.

Know that changes take time and won’t happen instantaneously.

“It’s taken me years to get to this place, and it’s a good place to be. That [good place] looks different for everyone,” Louise shared. “Find what works for you, and fill your bucket.”

A Care Package from Home Can Help Motivate Your Hero

military subscription boxSometimes motivation comes from things you’d least expect.

You would expect your military hero to find motivation from their work, their squadron, and their leadership. But sometimes it’s the smaller things — the things that don’t necessarily affect careers — that are the biggest factors in getting through the day and getting things done. One of those things just might be a deployment care package.

A gift of sweet and savory treats and games or activities to pass the time helps your hero’s mind stay sharp and focused when it’s time to work, because the fun and relaxation our military care packages provide reminds them of everyone who loves them back home.

Send a monthly military care package to your hero today.