Alysia Damin

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Fort Leonard Wood

Number of Deployments: 2

Number of PCS's: 4

Share your military spouse story:
I know that my military spouse story is ours and I can not be more grateful, however our story may also resonate with many of you. Having been with my husband, Neil, since high school, many of our memories are two sides of the same 'military challenge coin'. He first suggested the possibility of joining the Army when he graduated high school way back when. Being young, he decided to go to college first and put that plan on hold. We excelled through those first few years together, and low and behold 3 years later, while I was away in a college dorm room studying for exams, I get the phone call I thought was way behind us... "I think I'm going to talk to the recruiter". Being the person I am, I jumped head-first into the 'life', researched transferring colleges, sported a cringe worthy bumper sticker on my car saying; 'my other ride wears combat boots' and supported him through his OSUT training right here at Fort Leonard Wood. During AIT he wrote me a letter that pretty much said "we should just get married" and from then on it was all I could do but think about it and plan! Luckily he was stationed as close as he could be to me at college, 2 hours away at Fort Drum and we were married by our hometown mayor just 5 months later! Our happily ever after was in motion, but it was not for another year and a half (thanks to college and deployment) until we could finally call each other 'home'. During that first chapter as a milspouse my roommates didn't understand the stress and worry that I carried daily. I would get out of classes and walk around the stores hunting for care package goodies, or drive the 2 hours to Drum on the weekends to see other spouses, attend FRG meetings and cry on their couches during blackouts, all while awaiting that beautiful homecoming. Those first years seem so far away, but they are the foundation and experiences of my life as a military spouse that I would never trade; and I still have so much to look forward to!

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Growing up outside of the military community, I grew and honed my leadership style early on. I represent a transformational-charismatic approach to leadership. I love to volunteer, acts of service 'fill my bucket' and supporting the most clear vision and getting all those around me to that vision makes me happy. When moving into this journey those experiences pushed me to don that hat wherever I went. As a brand new enlisted spouse I raised my hand and volunteered for 5 years as the FRG Treasurer, seeing 5 command teams come and go I supported carryover and led my peers through experience during difficult times. Working alongside those you lead and allowing others to lead where you falter is in my opinion one of my greatest strengths. Being unafraid to state ideas and opinions, support and advise those who don't necessarily know they need the backup and willing myself to help even when underappreciated have given insight to my leadership characteristics and strengths.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
The past 15 years has led my husband and our family through 4 moves; 3 being large OCONUS moves (2 more coming soon) and created many pockets of 'military community' on this journey. As an individual, professional and mom of 3; jumping into each of these communities has been my outlet, essentially my 'me time', each step of the way. Key caller and FRG Treasurer over two deployments at Drum, led the way into the 1st Brigade Gold Star Team; planning and welcoming families to Ft. Drum. Holding Board of Governors roles in spouses' clubs as Treasurer and Vice President in the RSC in Alaska, Property and Vice President in the BCSC in Germany and supporting our Squadron SFRGs. This brings us all the way to Fort Leonard Wood where I have held Public Relations chair for the FWCSC going on 3 years, SFRG leader for my husband's company, BN SFRG committee member, KOTC member, and was awarded the Essayons Award in 2023 for supporting the morale, welfare and spirit of the Engineer Regiment.

Describe how you support your community:
It is important to me to build and live in my community, not only for myself or the betterment of my children, but for those sharing this temporary destination with me. Working within my professional realm as an SLP allows me to have a unique 'snow globe' view of how residents and education systems can see our military population. Bridging that gap and creating unity by 'getting off base' as much as I can also supports this idea. Supporting other organizations that in turn support us; such as Blue Star Families, Giving Tuesday Military, the USO, ASYMCA and sporting organizations lead our community to thrive. As PTO President at my daughter's school, I am pushing to create new opportunities and robust programming for our students here on base. Through FWCSC PR opportunities, I strive to connect businesses, individuals and other organizations through philanthropic events and in social settings to showcase just how many assets we as spouses can give to our communities and each other.

What do you advocate for? Why?
Spouses and children that are 'along for the ride' often feel the squeeze that military moves make upon them. I am reminded of the meme where the service member is handed a book on PCS and the spouse is handed umpteen books on Everything... Else. Through my professional passions in communication accessibility, language learning, and cultural representation I strive to support the military community and advocate strongly for my clients, friends and peers to seek support and guidance when needed. If I cannot provide insight, I try to connect them to a place that can. With Master's degrees in Speech Language Pathology and Reading Literacy I hope to advocate for those who fall between the cracks and have difficulty navigating the community or educational standards a new home throws their way. Through this drive for communication and connection I have also found a unique niche and passion in marketing and social media which allows me to push out of my comfort zone and advocate loudly.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
Spreading information can be done through word of mouth, written publications, or simply showcasing the importance of your message through action. Creating and maintaining deep networks within multiple communities spanning the globe, joining and representing organizations that support inclusion, community and camaraderie. Speaking with those who will listen, or even those who won't and finding the connections to support those in need. Creating successful connections with businesses can be as simple as tagging on social media or reaching out when you see something that reminded you of them. Carrying those connections to new spouses, incoming families or children who are striving to just make a place for themselves can be paramount. Communication and allowing yourself to be visible, to be vulnerable and to be real allows human connection to occur. My platform is supported through being your authentic self and surviving through communication; verbal or inferred.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
Holding the honor of being AFI Military Spouse of the year, I would seek to continue creating meaningful connections, through programming for those in my communities. I have seen first had from many friends how workshops and spreading their messages has seeped into the very framework of our community; and I would love the platform to add to that. The military lifestyle tends to throw curveballs and unknowns at us, and being able to maneuver them while creating pathways for others has always been a goal. When moving forward on this journey, I would hope to share this vision with other spouses and manifest positive goals as individuals, but also create a community that tends to travel with that person to their next home. Possibly a 'pangea' effect of military community. Military PCS support and family grounding for those in need all the while creating unity within the military spouse community through the inclusion of individualism.


Alysia is the epitome of engaged and connected military spouse. At each duty station she has been stationed, she voluntarily contributes to the spirit and welfare of military families and the community. Alysia believes in the power of service and impacting the quality of life for service members and their families but also the community surrounding the installation.
- by Brittany Raines