Entrepreneurship, military service, federal law enforcement, and raising children. Each of these alone could be full-time responsibilities, yet the Binstocks manage them all and continue to enjoy a simple home-centered family life.
A full-time family serving part-time, together, in the North Dakota Army National Guard. Brea is a Sergeant First Class, Platoon Sergeant with Forward Support Company, 142 Engineer Battalion while Eric is a Command Sergeant Major serving as the Senior Enlisted Leader of the North Dakota National Guard, assigned to Joint Forces Headquarters.
Both were deployed from 2003 to 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and once more in 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). During their time downrange, Eric and Brea note the limited communication to family and friends as one of the most difficult components of deployment. “Being away from my son Kaleb who was around six years old at the time was exceptionally tough,” said Eric.
Beyond the uniform, Brea is the co-founder of Lovely Lash Company, a luxury lash boutique located in West Fargo. Eric is a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations. Together, they have three children, Kaleb (24) Harper (7) and Brynlee (3).
For Eric, his service in the National Guard was something he wanted to do for a good portion of his life. His father, an Army Veteran was very proud of his service, and shared many stories from his time serving in Korea. He also had several family members that served while he was growing up. Eric enlisted himself at the age of 17.
After originally going to school for Occupational Therapy, Eric eventually found his calling through service with the National Guard.
“I realized I no longer wanted to pursue a career in occupational therapy,” said Eric. “The National Guard provided me direction and assisted me to pursue what I wanted
to do in my personal and professional life. I took an opportunity to work full-time with the National Guard performing duties in various capacities, which provided me the opportunity to finish my bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Mary. I continued to pursue a career in federal law enforcement and was hired as a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.”
Eric’s employment with Homeland Security Investigations keeps him busy at home investigating crime, while supporting national events such as Presidential Inaugurations, United Nations General Assemblies, and other law enforcement support throughout the United States. Just this past summer, he spent 60 days in Chicago supporting Operation Legend, a gang violence reduction effort. During this time, Brea was activated by the National Guard, in support of the emergency response to COVID-19, in this role Brea was assigned as the non-commissioned officer
in charge (NCOIC) of the Red River Valley Task Force working jointly with the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDOH) supervising Soldiers and Airmen of the National Guard assigned to facilitate COVID test sites.
“Eric and I would not be able to serve without the support of my parents,” said Brea. “My mom had to step up and become the primary caregiver of our two little girls while I was working the COVID mission for the National Guard and Eric was in Chicago.”
Being a dual military couple, the Department of Defense (DoD) mandates that the Binstocks have a family care plan in place for their children in the unlikely instance they were to both deploy or be engaged in emergency military duty at the same time.
“I could have retired 10 years ago from the National Guard,” said Eric. “I chose not to retire because I love what I do and feel I owe this great organization for all the amazing benefits and experiences it has provided me. In my position as Senior Enlisted Leader, I get to look at things from a strategic level. It’s great having a pulse on where the organization is headed. As I look across the North Dakota National Guard, I’ve never been more proud of our Soldiers and Airmen and have never been more excited or confident in the future that is to come. To put it simply, if it wasn’t for the National Guard, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I consider it a great privilege to be a part of such an exceptional organization.”
“We are both definitely very busy, but I think what is important is that we stay focused and driven with our careers and maximize our time together as a family,” said Eric.
Brea enlisted into the National Guard following in the footsteps of her Grandfather Joe, who served in the Navy and her Grandfather Reno, who served in the Army. Both were incredibly supportive of her decision to serve her country.
“I joined the military in 2000 after completing a couple semesters of college, for the tuition benefits and opportunity to serve my country,” said Brea. “I did not know if my military service would continue beyond my initial six-year obligation, however, after my overseas deployment to Iraq in 03-04, meeting so many amazing people, and experiencing everything the National Guard had to offer, my outlook toward the military really shifted. I developed a love and passion for the organization and knew this is where I belonged. The memories and experiences built a camaraderie that only military brothers and sisters will fully understand. The individuals I served with in Iraq and throughout my career have left a significant impact on my life. When you serve and deploy together, you become family.”
In addition to the tours in Iraq and Kuwait, Brea was also deployed to Kosovo in 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, a peacekeeping mission.
While juggling overseas deployments, Brea obtained a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead in Business Administration with a minor in communications.
Brea’s professional career included employment as a Senior Executive with Target, Human Resources Specialist with Integrity Windows and Doors, and Human Resources Officer for the District of North Dakota United States Attorney’s Office. These previous professional positions have provided Brea with extensive experience in business management, operations, leadership, and human resources. This background along with Brea’s strategic thinking ability were critical for her professional development and has established a great foundation for her entrepreneurial endeavors.
“I had so many great experiences working in both the private sector and for the government, however, I needed more, I wanted to be part of the community and had the passion, energy, and drive which fueled my entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of what it takes to hustle in order to keep life moving forward,” said Brea.
During the height of COVID, Brea and Ashley Froemke opened Lovely Lash Company. They were determined that nothing was going to stop them.
“We went back a forth, weighing the benefits against the risks and wondering what happens if it doesn’t work out,” said Brea. “But if there is anything my military experiences taught me it was resiliency and adaptability, we were confident in our business plan and mission to overcome any obstacle we would face down this unknown path.”
Brea and Ashley were able to officially open the doors of Lovely Lash Company in November 2020 and have not looked back since.
Brea and Ashley are excited to bring people together to work towards a common goal and make a difference in the lives of others, especially when it comes to empowering women to see the inner beauty of themselves. “Our goal is to build confidence in our clients through high-quality services, professionalism, education, and the passion for the art of all things lashes,” said Brea.
When asked what her dream job is, Brea stated, “It’s what I am doing right now! I truly love what I am doing. I feel passionate and fulfilled to show up every day knowing I helped motivate, inspire and empower others to reach their full potential whether that’s personally or professionally.”
To meet the lash club and reserve your lash nap call 701-532-2999, or stop by their location at 3139 Bluestem Dr, Suite 100, West Fargo, ND 58078.