More Than A Spouse: Creating Connections to Empower Others

Vince Afaisen: Chef and Influencer

In today’s world driven by online communications, it became apparent to Army spouse Vince Afaisen that he needed to leverage technology, specifically social media, when military service moved him thousands of miles from home.

Vince, the 2024 Armed Forces Insurance Fort Leavenworth Spouse of the Year and Top 3 Branch Finalist for the Army is no stranger to accolades, camaraderie, and building up other military spouses, whether in person or virtually. His secret to success? Empowering others—an act of service he hopes will reach military installations worldwide.

Cooking Up Relationships

“Love, tradition, memories…they are at the core of why I love to cook and why I graduated culinary school,” shared Vince. “Food is a large part of my culture, being from Guam, so mixing relationship-building and meals comes naturally to me.”

Purposeful and meaningful connections over food have been a great success for Vince as he navigated his military family life. He learned it early on as a proud military child of an Airman.

“Service in any form is so important to me, and I learned it at a young age.”

Now an Army spouse, Vince is finding that bridging his culinary art skills with his personable character is becoming the perfect combination to fulfill his drive to serve military families. Currently, he is serving in leadership roles within his installation’s Spouses Club and battling food insecurity faced by military families in his partnership with Stronghold Food Pantry, where he plans to host cooking classes.

In all this selfless service, he strives to use his strengths to empower and connect others.

“As a male spouse in a same-sex marriage, I remember how I felt with and without a friend,” recalled Vince. “I will never stop supporting those in need and whose voices are quiet. I believe the greatest act of support is giving whatever time one can spare for the betterment of others.”

And for Vince, having chatter over cooking and meals, whether virtually or in person, serves a great purpose in his life.

“As I continue to build my online presence as a food industry personality and take on volunteer work at each new base I call home, I’ve committed myself to bring along any spouses for the ride.”

Share Your Skill Set

For many military spouses, it is finding that jump-start to move from idea to success—whether it is to pursue education, start a business, or pick up a trade. According to Vince, an easy remedy is to reach out and utilize those resources available to spouses.

“Involvement in the military community has brought so much joy for me; opportunities are numerous, and my fellow spouses should partake.”

Military OneSource provides many vetted resources for community-based opportunities on an installation, including information on your local Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Center (MWR). At NMFA, we share timely articles and blogs that cover volunteerism, spouse success stories, what we know about child care, and much more.

“Jump in any way possible to meet sisters and brothers in our community to celebrate wins,” said Vince. “Find a battle buddy and welcome everyone in the community so no one is ever alone.”

Share your ‘More Than A Spouse’ story with us. We want to hear it! You could be our next spouse feature to share wisdom, personal triumph, and all that makes you more than a spouse!

By: Angela Sablan Tenorio, Content Manager