Pictured is veteran Charles Williams, middle, along with wife Nikki, second from left, their oldest son, Austin Goelzer, and Nikki’s parents Jo and Steve Guyette. Charles and Nikki moved to Madison following Charles’ service and have been taking advantage of Wisconsin’s lifestyle offerings since.

Following Charles Williams’ three decades of active duty for the U.S. Army, he and his wife Nikki agreed they wanted to live in a place that would set them up for success. Born and raised in Plymouth, Wis., Nikki was already aware of the lifestyle and career opportunities Wisconsin could offer her and her husband.

Charles is now assigned to a medical training unit in Madison while serving in the Army Active Guard Reserve program, and we recently spoke with Nikki about why she wanted to move to Wisconsin, what living in a top city for veterans is like and how the move has benefited them.

In Wisconsin: What stood out about Wisconsin and how did it compare to other states?

Nikki Williams: The economic factors—the cost of living is lower compared to other places, and the positives outweighed any negatives in our decision making. Not only that, but there are so many recreational activities available to us. Wisconsin can surprise those who move here. We enjoy going to the weekly farmers’ market in the spring and summer, easily-accessible movie theaters, unique restaurants, Summerfest in Milwaukee and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. We sometimes enjoy just taking a walk on State Street in Madison, or exploring the Wisconsin State Capitol. There’s so much to do here.

In Wisconsin: What has it been like living in Wisconsin so far?

NW: Compared to other states, Wisconsin has the perfect amount of activities for us to do during every season, including fall and winter. We certainly enjoy taking vacations to big cities, but we love exploring and living in Madison. Living here gives us the chance to experience the excitement of a big city while also giving us the warm feeling of having a close-knit community. One of the biggest things we like is that Wisconsin has all four seasons, and there’s so much to do during each of them.

In Wisconsin: What is the support for military families and military spouses like in Wisconsin?

NW: We’ve been able to take advantage of the outreach services provided by the Madison Vet Center, which have been great. Overall, I feel there is a lot of military support in Wisconsin. It offers educational benefits, fishing and hunting licenses for active duty service members and veterans and many free or discounted admission prices to museums and parks.

In Wisconsin: What things weighed into your decision to move to Wisconsin?

NW: As a couple, we decided that the support of our surrounding community was very pleasant, and we missed it so much. We felt that Madison and Wisconsin were perfect for us at this moment.

Named a top city for veterans to live, Madison has also proven to be perfect for many other veterans and their families. Overall, Wisconsin continues to gain national attention for offering more veteran benefits than any other state, as well as for its effort to help transitioning veterans and their spouses find employment and quality of life opportunities. Nikki’s success story is just one of many. Find other perspectives on Wisconsin helping military spouses transition available here.