Branch: National Guard
Duty Station: Maryland
Number of Deployments: 6
Number of PCS's: 0
Share your military spouse story:
My story started in 1998 in Southern California when a simple hello and a smile from a Marine captured my heart. The next chapter of his military service moved us cross country to join the Maryland Army National Guard; an organization his father, a Sergeant First Class, served from 1964. The day he enlisted at the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade (29th CAB) in Edgewood, Maryland, I joined the Family Readiness Group as a core volunteer. I vowed to learn from the spouses who came before me and support all Maryland military families. Within a year our children Cheyenne, a senior at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) studying Architecture Design and Kaycee, a SPC serving in my husband’s unit at the 29th CAB as a Blackhawk mechanic inspired me to support the entire military community. I have had the honor during 61-months of deployments, to serve incredible military families and receive my first call sign “Mama Hash.” My efforts are still evolving even after 24 years. Two years ago, I decided to dedicate more of my spare time to our retired military community. By picking up the phone and making a simple outreach call allows me to stay connected. Listening to their challenges and providing information, resources and event details only strengthens my bond to all military families, which is a direct result of being a proud military Guard Spouse, Mother, and Daughter-in-Law.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I served 1-year as a Core Volunteer for F Co 2-224th, 15-years as a Lead Volunteer for D Co 248th, A Co 1-224th, Aviation Depot Maintenance Round-out Unit and 1100 Theater Aviation Support Maintenance Group, 1-month as the Senior Advisor for 29th CAB, 4-years as the 29th CAB Family Readiness Support Assistant, and 3-years as the Military OneSource State Consultant. I have 23 years of additional fundraising and volunteering with the school system, Gunpowder Wounded Warrior Outreach, Operation Homefront and United Through Reading. I believe it is my leadership in volunteering that lead to my current position as the Executive Assistant to the Adjutant General. I have over 8,200 volunteer hours and raised more than $50,000 in support of our guardsmen. My efforts come from my love of the military and the rewarding “thank you” hug/fist bump. Not everyone can lead, but it is my passion and will to continue as long as there are service and family members to assist, mentor, inspire and connect.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
Unique. I would describe my involvement within the military community as unique. Each day 85% of my time is spent on the phone, answering emails and assisting in-person service or family members. I work and volunteer my time to the Maryland National Guard 24/7. I am blessed that everything in my life allows me to support all who wear or those who support our state’s guardsmen. Working hard to build trust with the guardsmen allows me to build a deeper relationship with them as a soldier and as an individual. This is essential and powerful. Although majority of my time is dedicated to those currently serving, it does not stop at retirement. I know the extra time I spend speaking to a retiree or their family members is a privilege. And, one I do without fail every day.
Describe how you support your community:
My community is my support village, and I am theirs. Our home is nestled in the country with two other homes. Of the 6-adults that live in these 3-homes, five work on Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG) and I work at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore. On a greater scale my hometown has 22% veteran population. We are surrounded by the army base, multiple Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legions and veteran owned businesses. When I am not working at the armory or volunteering, I take the opportunity to visit businesses in the community. In addition to getting to know the owners, I am expanding my resource database. This allows me to stay current with the organizations, businesses and churches that assist our military. Identifying military discounts are a bonus, but I seek out those who are able to provide assistance when a guardsmen, veteran or retiree needs a helping hand at little to no cost.
What do you advocate for? Why?
National Guard is “Mission First, Family Always.” Where I am “Always Present, Always Connected.” I want to empower the military with knowledge and confidence to overcome the unexpected obstacles. No matter if I am working for the Adjutant General, supporting my husband’s military career, leading the SRFG or raising our children to volunteer and serve, I ensure service members and families get accurate information. Being approachable is my advantage. With that, it is up to me to gain their trust and build lasting relationships that will continue into retirement. “Why do I take the time to call those who no longer wear the uniform?” It is REWARDING! It costs me time, but the connection is priceless. I strive to be “their forever village.”
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I am the key to spreading my message “Always Present, Always Connected.” Twenty-four years of being present at the 29th CAB armory and hangar or at Joint Force HeadQuarters, the military community knows I will provide resources and support at any time of day. By working and volunteering for my extended military family I am dedicated to spreading the message of being accessible, reliable and understanding of each situation that is presented to me. I use my confidence, unique perspective, and strong independent personality to establish the foundation of future conversations. I never want a retiree or spouse of a retiree feel that they no longer have a connection to the Maryland National Guard.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
The honor of being named Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year 2023 allows for an unimaginable opportunity to network with other exceptional spouses, volunteers, as well as access to active and reserve service members and families throughout the other 53 states and territories. An experience where I am able to continue to expand my knowledge while supporting other components and branches. An honor that allows me to continue to build relationships with soldiers and airmen at our 28 armory and readiness centers and wherever retirement takes our retirees. I will use this opportunity to help the National Guard be “Always Ready, Always There” while continuing to be “Always Present, Always Connected.”
It is with great pleasure that I nominate Allyson for consideration for the 2023 National Guard Spouse of the Year recognition. Allyson is a wonderful military spouse who gives to other by supporting her spouse and working in a military job that support different military leadership. She performs her job at an exemplary level and helps our service members and their families. Allyson demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to her community as well as to the military spouses and families. Her skills, knowledge,willingness to help others, and dedication to our community and her job makes her an excellence nominee. Super proud to know Allyson!
- by Miles for the Heart