Vince Afaisen

Branch: Army

Duty Station: Fort Leavenworth

Number of Deployments: 1

Number of PCS's: 3

Share your military spouse story:
The beautiful thing about spouse stories is that they are unique & common at the same time. I'm no different. I'm a Male Army Military Spouse! My time as a spouse has been shorter than most, but my story overflows with experiences, relationships, & adventures that seem to have lasted much longer. I met my husband in 2005 while competing together in a Drum Corps, The Madison Scouts. I didn't know that 11 years later we would reunite & begin dating. When my husband commissioned in 2007, our type of relationship was not accepted, but when the doors opened, so did our love and my start as a military spouse. After 2.5 years of dating, in 2019, I quickly (within an hour) went from boyfriend to fiancé to husband in a surprise romantic gesture. Shortly after, he deployed to Afghanistan. Our family consist of our son, Kaden, our dog Ellis-Hugh (sounds like “LSU”), 2 cats, Luka & Loki, and our 2 turtles, Bowser & Mint. I'd say that my first military spouse experience was at Ft. Hood (now Ft. Cavazos). I was lucky to experience the area a couple months before Covid-19 locked us down. When the hold was lifted I rushed to get involved in the community. I wanted to learn, grow, meet new & inspiring people, and use my passion for building relationships to positively impact those around me. I was ready to immerse myself in my new normal, a military lifestyle. I joined the Fort Hood Spouses’ Club & volunteered at a few places there. As many can relate, that was short lived before we moved again. #MilitaryLife. I've experienced 3 PCS’s, 1 Deployment and too many TDY’s to count. The best thing about being a military spouse is the luxury of meeting so many people very often. Although one of the greatest achievements I have received was the Molly Pitcher award in the second year as a military spouse, the most memorable of all achievements is having the opportunity to leave a duty station, families, and organizations with a sense of gratitude for the lessons and relationships I’ve built.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
Leadership isn’t just a title; it’s motivating others toward the same purpose & goal. I’m thankful to share my leadership skills in many roles within my military community. I serve as the 2nd VP for the Fort Leavenworth Spouses’ Club where I organize monthly socials, merging local nonprofits with the members they aim to serve & amplify my passion of community. As 2nd VP, socials have doubled in attendance. Last year, the FLSC was short of leaders, so I stepped up into Membership & Co-Special Events Chair to help raise over $7K for grants. I assist/mentor board members for support they need for success & to feel valued. A cherished moment as a leader/military spouse was as the MC for the first-ever LGBTQ+ Pride luncheon. My communication, integrity, reliability, and relationship building, are what allow me to be the best volunteer, friend, professional, & military spouse. It's a privilege to share these abilities with various nonprofit organizations on Ft. Leavenworth & at Ft. Cavazos.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
Involvement in the military community is a joy for me; opportunities are numerous! If ever a need, big or small, I'll be there. I find ways my time & skills can help another organization or person. My cup is filled when there are opportunities for me to contribute to successes within the Army community. Opportunities ranging from fundraising events, serving as an MC, laying wreaths for fallen soldiers or being available for the spouse that needs a listening ear. My favorite involvements are the ones that remain unspoken & unknown to the public. I love to be a “shadow” servant for the community. For example, helping families in need & guiding them toward available resources. This role, I guide them to services, like diapers & groceries, to make their lives a little bit easier. I'm involved as the FLSC 2nd Vice President & volunteer with Stronghold Food Pantry, Frontier Museum, & Stray Facility. At Fort Cavazos I was involved with the USO, Unit Functions, ODYD, Santa’s Workshop and FHSC.

Describe how you support your community:
I view support for our community as never ending. Therefore, I will never stop supporting those in need & whose voices are quiet. I believe the greatest act of support is giving whatever time one can spare for the betterment of others. For me, I give every minute I possibly can, because it only takes one minute to impact a person in a positive way. I invite spouses to join me on anything I do. My experience as a military spouse, it's easy to get lost in the nuances of Army life & the shuffle of my soldier. But no matter how new or seasoned a spouse is, they have value and so I treat them as such. The best way I support the community is by being a part of things that could benefit ALL SPOUSES at any level, rank, age, culture, or special uniqueness. I best support the community by supporting the individuals that make up our community. I commit to being an approachable, welcoming, trustworthy person so that others have the opportunity to feel a sense of belonging. #SpousesAreHeroes.

What do you advocate for? Why?
When I hear advocate, I think passion. I advocate for involvement, community and inclusion. As a male spouse in a same-sex marriage, my early experience was colorful in the military spouse community to say the least. I remember what I felt with & without a friend. Involvement helps to feel a part of. I very much advocate for others to live their lives and speak their truth. I cherish the different lives that our spouses live & the priceless stories that we all share. I advocate to jump in any way possible in order to meet sisters & brothers to celebrate wins & support each other on the hard times we struggle with as military spouses. It is about respect we should give each other & giving back to the community that serves us in military life. To find that battle buddy, but also welcome everyone in the community so no one is ever alone. Military life is long or short depending on the way our soldier serves, but the way we immerse ourselves in it will define the imprint it makes on us.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I spread the message of my platform and advocacy by being extremely involved. Not only do I set the example, but I also become it. Through dedicated advocacy, I show that any military spouse can enjoy and flourish by involvement. I spread the message by showing up and sharing my experiences, inviting others to participate, and communicating the message of selfless community servitude through calls, texts, and social media. Serving in roles of volunteering & philanthropic events, I have been happy to be a voice that military spouses can hear to share knowledge, socials, clubs, celebrations, fundraisers, and events. I encourage involvement by speaking at group presentations for spouses to join clubs that many have not heard of. At the first Pride Luncheon on Ft. Leavenworth, I invited military spouses to attend. Many spouses & soldiers attended that wouldn't have known of the event, or gone. Such a tiny act of advocacy served as an invitation to involvement and inclusion for all.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
Firstly, I’m honored for the nomination and extremely grateful to serve my community, the spouses of Ft. Leavenworth and the US Army! Such designation comes with great responsibility and, if selected, I strive to represent the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title in its entirety! My purpose is to get others involved & feel a part of something bigger! I aim to use this role toward networking with spouses; speaking on the importance of involvement at any level; the benefits of building relationships with a military spouse; life in same sex marriage; hurdles & successes of living through change; and the blessings of military life. I aim to travel to enhance our culture by spreading the message of leadership & volunteerism! With technology today, I'd hold virtual panels, create military life videos, & build ways for spouses to connect with spouses “Just Like Them." This would match military spouses with a “battle buddy” toward growing the military spouse community at every installation.


Mr. Vince Afaisen is a dedicated military spouse, volunteer, professional, and advocate for other military spouses. He volunteers at the Fort Leavenworth stray animal facility, museum, and a myriad of local activities each week. As the 2nd Vice President of the Fort Leavenworth Spouses Club, Mr. Afaisen regularly plans and expertly executes events for large groups of people, between 100 and 200 guests, each month. He is a respected member of the spouses' club and is a peer leader as a member of the executive board. Mr. Afaisen is regularly sought out for advice, wherein his social acumen is bolstered by his interpersonal team-building knowledge, emotional intelligence, and empathy for others. Mr. Vince Afaisen is a consummate professional whose achievements have enhanced both the image and perception of what it means to be a military spouse: caring for the community, maintaining a professional reputation, and always being supportive of each and every military service member.
- by Brandt Murphy

I have known Vince for a very long time and have witnessed personally the amount of effort he puts into everything he loves. Since I have known him, I have seen him continue to become an amazing leader, this can mean a lot of different things to different people, but he doesn't just show up - every ounce of him shows up, he is prepared, he is thoughtful, he is open-minded to others, leaves no rock unturned -- he is dedicated. When he is involved, he is committed. His communication is open, thoughtful, precise, and easy to understand, he works in a way where others are encouraged to share and he makes himself available. Vince's story won't fit here, but he is one of the most amazing people I know, he cares so deeply for others, he inspires and impacts everyone he meets. He has a deep understanding of a diverse background; from being from Guam, marrying a man in the military, I am sure he has had his share of discrimination and he pushes through and concurs it for those he loves.
- by Kristen MeKiney