Ben Winderweedle is a Southern boy at heart. He was raised by his maternal grandparents in Northern Louisiana, and in August of 1996, he set off to pursue his dreams and find his passion in the United States Navy. Ben is an accomplished and decorated 20-year Navy veteran. He has been cited for many accomplishments and recognized for his performance, including receipt of a Navy Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medal 5 times, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorius Unit Commendation, Sea Service Ribbon, Battle Efficiency Ribbon 3 times, Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
Early in his career, he did what many young sailors do; he met a girl and got married at the young age of 19. Though the marriage ended in divorce, this brought the blessing of his first son, in March of 2001. Ben loved being a father, but sadly, military service took him away from his son, Ben’s deepest regret.
The military brought many challenges as his career progressed.
He also remarried in 2004, resulting in the birth of his second son and his cherished daughter. Ben felt as though his life was coming together, as his small family grew.
Through several very difficult tours, including Undersea Research and Development and being a Recruit Division Commander (Drill Instructor), the stress of military life took its toll. After a prolonged two year separation from his wife and children, Ben divorced for the second time in the Fall of 2015. This proved to be more devastating than he ever could have imagined as he was embroiled in a battle to simply just be a father to his youngest two children.
After 20 years of military service though, Ben was equipped with the tools of leadership, tenacity, perseverance, and a will to succeed. The many difficult times has given him the experience and wisdom to lead others in their own fight for equality and justice.
Currently, Ben is on track to retire from the Navy in June 2016 after 20 years of Naval service. He intends to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and then pursue his Master’s degree.
Ben’s greatest passion now is advocating and collaborating with others to ensure parental equality for all parents and focusing on the genuine best interest of children. His oldest son is now fifteen, and their relationship continues to improve as they both have grown older, and Ben is still actively fighting to be a part of his two youngest children’s lives. Ben’s compassionate and gentle attitude, complemented by his strong will and determination, makes him a perfect fit for Time to Put Kids First and the position of Board Vice President.