Songbird in a sea of blue

JUNEAU, Alaska — Petty Officer 2nd Class Evelyn Stumpf, a legal assistant with the 17th Coast Guard District, sits at her desk at district headquarters April 30, 2012. When not assisting the district legal team, she works on her budding singer-songwriter career from home and at a recording studio in Seattle. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst.

For a service member, uniformity is a way of life. From the rules, to the ranks, to the clothes, all aspects of the job are saturated with standardization. While uniformity is necessary, the repetition can be dull.

However, service members are also individuals, and have interests, hobbies and pastimes that make them all different. Some people fish, others play hockey, and it is likely one or two enjoy polka. These passions make the person behind every uniform.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Evelyn Stumpf, a legal technician for the 17th Coast Guard District legal office, puts on the same uniform as her coworkers every morning and sits in front of a computer similar to any other in the Coast Guard. Her job is not unlike that of many other yeomen at a district office.

When Stumpf heads home to work on her unique hobby, the uniformity comes to an abrupt halt. She sheds off her Coast Guard persona, and becomes Evie, the up-and-coming singer-songwriter.

“Music is huge to me,” said Evie. “I love writing and I love singing.”

Shortly after being stationed in Juneau while entering her tenth year of Coast Guard service, Evie decided to do something with her lifelong passion for songwriting and singing. She started working with a Seattle recording studio to produce her first album, Gumption, in August 2011.

“Once I got here, to Alaska, it brought out more of a need and a want for music,” she said. “I felt it was time.”

As an active duty member, she had to face the challenge of working around her full-time Coast Guard schedule.

“Although everyone in the office is aware that she’s been working on this, you wouldn’t know it with what’s she’s doing at work.” said Lt. Cmdr. Greg Versaw, the deputy staff judge advocate for the 17th District legal office, and Evie’s supervisor. “Everything she’s done has been on her own time.”

Evie took time off work when she could, and flew to Seattle, where she worked long hours with a producer to put out her first album as quickly as possible.

“They recorded all day,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Stumpf, Evie’s husband, and a yeoman for the Base Support Unit Ketchikan detachment in Juneau. “They would start at eight or nine and wouldn’t finish until midnight, to make good use of her time in Seattle.”

At home, Evie had a team of family, friends and coworkers cheering her on.

“When she came out with the CD she had a private listening party with her close friends,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Isabel Bonilla, a yeoman with the Base Support Unit Ketchikan detachment in Juneau. “I love her music, and it’s not just because she’s my friend.”

Only a few months after finishing the album, Evie’s hard work, and the support she was receiving, paid off. In April, her album became available on iTunes, a major landmark in the process.

“I called Sean up and said, ‘Hey, the album is released on iTunes,’” said Evie. “He told everyone in his office and I told everyone in mine. Everyone was very supportive.”

The news brought a wave of excitement.

“I’ve never known anybody before who has released an album,” said Versaw. “It’s pretty impressive.”

Apparently, Versaw was not the only person who was impressed. According to the website, Evie’s album is number two on the Juneau pop chart.

With that big step behind her, Evie looks to the future. And since her work is easily accessible to millions via the Internet, her passion for music is still strong.

“I don’t consider this my last album,” she said. “I have so much stuff, so much material, so many things I want to say.”