AF spouse dances into hearts via Space Coast Ballet
By Ken Warren, 45th SW Public Affairs
/ Published January 10, 2008
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Melanie Davis could've moped around feeling sorry for herself last January when almost immediately after moving to Patrick AFB, her husband Staff Sgt. Will Davis was sent to Kunsan AB, Korea for a one-year tour of duty.
But instead, she got busy with the Space Coast Ballet. Their family had just arrived from Barksdale AFB, La., and she didn't know a soul. In a new place, with her husband deployed, Melanie decided the best thing she could do for herself and their two kids was immerse themselves in the community.
Melanie became involved with the Space Coast Ballet when she enrolled their son Ryan and daughter Zoe in dance classes. After realizing the organization was almost completely run by volunteers, she jumped in and now serves as president of Friends of the Space Coast Ballet - a group that conducts fund raising and marketing activities, coordinates volunteers and more.
During the company's recent production of The Nutcracker, Melanie volunteered up to 60 hours weekly. "I can't do anything in a small way. I need to go all out," she said. "Besides, volunteering gives me such a sense of accomplishment. Volunteering helps make this community a better place to live and helps you grow as a person."
Watching with pride from Korea is Melanie's husband Will, a command post specialist. He believes she's an excellent role model for military spouses. "I consider her a great community ambassador. It lets the local community know that the Air Force community is involved and cares about what is going on," he said via e-mail. "She could have just become a recluse and did nothing but stay at home and complain about how bad she hates it there. She absolutely loves living on the Space Coast and I think being highly involved in the community is a big part of it," he added.
Melanie readily embraces her role as an Air Force ambassador. "I am trying to become a vital member of a larger community. It's nice to share our military lives with people who don't often, if ever, come into contact with military families."
One person glad to share in Melanie's life is Terri Kizzort of the Space Coast Ballet's board of directors. She sees Melanie as cheerful, energetic and giving. "Melanie organized backstage activities during The Nutcracker. I'm talking about 150 people back there with costumes, makeup...the works, a huge effort. She's amazing!" said Ms. Kizzort.
Melanie says helping her kids appreciate the arts and become more well-rounded people inspire her volunteer work. But perhaps she's also driven by surviving the attack against the Pentagon on 9/11, where she worked as a contractor for the U.S. Navy. The entire corridor outside her office was destroyed. "After Sept. 11, I'm just thankful my kids and family are healthy," she said. "I wake up in the morning, put on a smile and everything else is just the small stuff."
Up next for Melanie and the Space Coast Ballet is a production called "Spartacus." It's slated to begin March 15 at the King Center in Melbourne. She says it will be a spectacular production with dozens of volunteers involved. Small stuff? Only a go-getter like Melanie Davis would think so. (Capt. Amber Millerchip contributed to this story).