Meet Our Coaches
Mildred (Mily) Aranda has been an Operation Family Caregiver coach since April 2020, serving both English- and Spanish-speaking caregivers. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Mily has taught at New Mexico State University and the University of Texas San Antonio for the last 10 years. She has provided mental health services through both group sessions and one-on-one settings to individuals and families, including military veterans, students, and active duty members. Mily has two very close friends who are military, and she has been a part of their struggles and victories in life.
Dee Blascyk began working with caregivers at the end of 2019. Based in Temple, Texas, she is serving caregivers in the Gulf Coast who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. Dee, who was herself in the Navy Reserves, completed Operation Family Caregiver in 2016, and therefore brings a unique perspective to the caregivers she coaches. She cares for her husband, an Army veteran, and previously helped support her good friend, who left the Navy without a support network of his own.
Jessica Maples has been a caregiver coach with Operation Family Caregiver since early 2019. Jessica is a veteran who served in the Army for 5 ½ years. She comes from a long line of military service, including both her parents, as well as her husband. Prior to working with Operation Family Caregiver, Jessica worked with an organization that sought to identify homeless veterans, providing them with housing and other needed services. After years of assisting her husband with the challenges he has from serving in the military, she has a keen insight into the struggles that veterans and their caregivers face. Jessica currently lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Patricia (Patty) Mix has a been an Operation Family Caregiver Coach since January 2019. Based in Temple, Texas, Patty has a background in special education and retail. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and Spanish Studies in 2018 and is currently enrolled in the MPA Program at Valdosta State University. Patty served as a caregiver to her father, who passed of prostate cancer in 2015. She comes from a long line of military service members: her father, brother, grandfathers, uncles, and more! Patty’s husband is currently an active duty service member of the United States Army and is in his 23rd year of service.
Britania Grajeda Esparza has been an Operation Family Caregiver coach since August 2019 and serves English and Spanish speaking caregivers. Based in El Paso, Texas, Britania previously worked in the Columbia River Gorge, helping survivors of violence as an advocate, running and managing an emergency shelter. Britania also created The Dalles Housing Solutions coalition, an initiative to develop affordable housing in the area. She attended Northern Arizona University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary studies in Community Development and Sustainability, as well as a minor in Human Behavior. She also holds a degree in Wildlife Biology and is a caregiver to her husband, a disabled Navy veteran.