Branch: Marine Corps
Duty Station: Camp Courtney
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 4
Share your military spouse story:
Marine Corps Male Spouse! This is truly such a fun experience to have within the Marine Corps community. My journey as a military spouse has been an amazing one with so many different aspects of life happening. I have been fortunate to maintain a healthy career in retail management in the years we have been together moving around with the Marine Corps. Sure the updating your resume can be a bit exhausting, but I wouldn't change this life for nothing! My husband and I have been married for a total of 8 and half way to year number 9 this year. However, we have been together for almost 15 years in total and counting all the fun years that are to come. Prior to getting married we were unfortunately unable to be married due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Once we got married I hit the ground running with anything that I could do to support my Marine. We have PCS'd with each other a total of 4 times and have gone through 1 deployment. This journey has allowed me to meet so many incredible people along the way. I have been fortunate enough to mentor spouses from all walks life with the experience and knowledge I have had throughout our moves. Usually if I am in the room and see someone by themselves I will ensure I walk over and introduce myself. I want all people to feel welcomed and included. The military life is a rough one with so many great perks and I were to ask to do this again, it is the easiest of absolutely.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Community leader is what most people see me as in Okinawa. I am active in many aspects of this island when it comes to non-profits and leadership. Currently I am the Director of Operations at the Marine Gift Shop and sit on several non-profit organizations. With being a community leader I have had the honor of speaking at the Okinawa Leadership Seminar a few times. This seminar hosts over 40-50 military spouses, who are seeking opportunities to grow as a leader. Anytime after I speak I always open the forum to please reach out to me if anyone wants to grab a coffee and chat about leadership, life, careers, etc. My role here in Okinawa within our military community is one of my favorite roles I have had. Being a leader and seeing the impact I can have on people brings me joy. That is all I need.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
To the core being there for my spouse and his Marines and Sailors is one of the most important parts of me being a military spouse. Anytime I have had the opportunity to volunteer or give my time to his units the answer has always been YES. I have helped our Deployment Readiness Coordinator come up with events, gifts, and anything else we can do. I am always there to help execute whatever we need to do to get the job done. There is one time that stands out particular to me to do this day when it comes to giving my time to his unit. I was on a business trip to the Philippines for a week and worked day/night. Unfortunately, the flights of the Philippines back to Okinawa were red eye only and the day I was flying in he had a big family day planned. As soon as I landed exhausted from the flight, I put on a smile and drove straight over to the field house and helped serve over 300 people who were attached to the unit. I do this because I care.
Describe how you support your community:
With being the Director at the gift shop and being on boards I have made several connections on island. I help in anyway I can with different organizations on island. This doesn't just include military, but also Japanese organizations. The gift shop I work at we have been able to help donate Christmas gifts to local orphanages, help donate food to local food banks, donate money to help drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, and donate supplies for disability homes. It is important that we as military community members help our local community that we are around. This builds strong relationships with our host nation, so they know that we respect them and their culture.
What do you advocate for? Why?
There are two things that I advocate for within the military community. First, I always advocate for diversity, inclusion, and belonging within the military community. It is important that we are meeting people from all walks of life and giving the same opportunity. Having spouse groups that are more diverse help with the growth and inclusion. The second portion ties back to the first thing and that is the inclusion of the male spouse! We are so often forgotten about and I make sure that this something I speak out about. This has always been something I advocate for and when I hear gender centric verbiage I ensure I say something so everyone is feeling included.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
The way my message is usually spread in person! I am one who if asked can I speak at an event, the answer is always yes! The other ways I do is through my various channels of boards I sit on. One of the boards I currently sit on I am the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. With this role I am able to help spouse groups worldwide make their groups more diverse with what we are able to teach them.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. As you can tell from my answers above this has been a big topic of mine. It is important to me that all spouses and members of the military feel included. It is important especially to have a strong military force. Our spouses groups can only grow being diverse and this is an amazing thing. I would love to advocate more than just on island in person. I'd love to use this title to take it world wide.
I had the pleasure of meeting Vinny right before I departed from Okinawa. He always has a welcoming smile on his face. Vincent (Vinny) is a community leader in Okinawa. He serves his community as the Director of Operations at the Marine Gift Shop. This non-profit donates its proceeds to the local Japanese community and military community. He serves on the American Welfare & Works Association board and the Council as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for military spouses. Vinny has been a guest speaker for the Okinawa Leadership Seminar, hosting over 80 military spouses empowering them to seek professional skills. Vinny is also involved with his Marine's unit and is an active volunteer for Marine-driven events and family events. He is consistently looking for a way to get involved and give back to the community. His upbeat personality is infectious. His positive attitude and outlook are precisely the qualities needed for this military life.
- by Elizabeth Castro
I would like to nominate my friend Vincent (Vinny) Toth for Military Spouse of the Year. His selfless sacrifice and devotion in contributing towards the betterment of our military spouses encompasses all of the qualities reflected in this award. The following are just a few of the things he is involved with:
-Director of Operations at Marine Gift Shop managing a network of over 60 volunteers
-Board member for American Welfare Works Association ( AWWA)
-Director of Diversity on The Council
-Guest speaker at Okinawa Leadership Seminar to Empower mil spouses who want to seek careers
-FRACTA/volunteer with spouses unit
-Community leader in Okinawa
Thank you for the consideration.
- by Enid Randall