Branch: Air Force
Duty Station: Scott Air Force Base
Number of Deployments: 4
Number of PCS's: 5
Share your military spouse story:
I started dating my husband when he was a freshman at the Air Force Academy. We learned and grew into the Air Force together. Our first real duty station was McChord AFB during the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. While my husband spent 300 days a year away from home as a C-17 pilot I spent my time becoming a Key Spouse and making connections with my fellow military spouses. I drove myself to the hospital during the birth of our first son when he came early and my husband was away on a mission. I learned to be resilient and independent from the very beginning. Having a drama filled career means that I have seen so many things and it has enabled me to help others when the need arises. I continued my work as a Key Spouse at both Travis AFB and Scott AFB.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I have worked to create the Deck the Holidays program in partnership with Blue Star Families here at Scott AFB. We have provided food and hygiene boxes for over 200 families each year during the holiday season for the past two years. I helped to spread the word about this event to our community and was able to ensure the attendance of the local mayor, the vice wing commander, and the med group commander so they could help our airmen in need.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
I am a passionate supporter and volunteer for Veterans Community Project which provides transitional housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. Two years ago, I created a quilt drive to make sure that all the veterans would have a brand new handmade quilt when they move into their tiny home. It was important to me to give them a piece of the community and ensure they felt not only supported — but loved. Through this initiative, I worked diligently to bring people together and remind the community that serving the military also means remembering those who have already hung up their uniform. I also connected veteran business owners in our area with VCP so that they too could provide support to this incredible project.
Describe how you support your community:
I am highly involved in my community. I started and am the president of a non profit that creates safe and inclusive gatherings for adolescents in our area. We design the events to be inclusive to all regardless of gender, orientation, race, economic status, and ability status. I am also highly involved at the local schools, volunteering to coach the soccer team, subbing and filling in for staff, and hosting drives for school supplies. I also facilitate donations from organizations to pass on to the schools with the most need.
What do you advocate for? Why?
Fighting food insecurity is a passion of mine and I am working in my community to bring blessing boxes to high need populations. I have placed and maintain three blessing boxes in the area around Scott AFB, and one of my current missions is to place a box on base in enlisted housing to ease the cost of food and necessities for our at risk airmen and their families.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I spread my passion through Facebook and Instagram and through connecting with people in the community. I have made a lot of connections through networking and finding like minded individuals.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
I would like to be able to expand my blessing box program by connecting with people who also have a passion for helping people and fighting food insecurity. I fill my bucket by spending time with passionate individuals who have a lot of love and care to give and I know this program is filled with those very people! I am honored to be nominated.
Alicia has devoted her life to standing in the gap for our military families and vulnerable community members. From forming a nonprofit to serve youth to building blessing boxes all over her county, she is a spouse willing to do the work because it’s the right thing to do. Alicia does all of this while caring for her family and advocating for her own child with special needs, whom she is a primary caretaker for. Some of the things that stand out from her work over the years:
- organizing blood drives
- setting up essentials drives for blessing boxes
- advocating for on base blessing boxes due to documented food insecurity for military families
- surprising military families with special makeovers
- organizing be the match drives to find donors for severely ill individuals
- by Jessica Manfre