TLR spouse wins AF AFI Military Spouse of the Year

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah Ortega Corona
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Danielle Alford, Military OneSource outreach assistant and Team Little Rock spouse, was recently recognized as the Air Force branch winner of the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year Award.

The AFI MSOY program, established in 2008, honors the contributions of military spouses across all branches of service, recognizing their dedication to the military community and the nation.

Alford attributed a significant part of her success to her upbringing in a community-involved family. Through this exposure, Alford said she developed a deep appreciation for making a meaningful impact on others from an early age.

“My parents taught me the values of community involvement and understanding,” said Alford. “My mother was a huge volunteer and volunteered for the Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused children; my twin sister, brother, and I, as a teen were all involved in it.”

Alford added that she sees her life's journey as a continuous exploration of learning and discovery and she aspires to pass on her values to her family, particularly her daughters, fostering a legacy of compassion and proactive contribution to society.

“I would love for my girls to embrace the power of volunteering, just as my mother taught me,” said Alford. “Being a mother has taught me patience, empathy, and the importance of being a positive influence. I want my girls to learn and grow into compassionate individuals who make a difference in the world.”

She stated that throughout her career she has had the support from her husband, who takes great pride in her accomplishments and finds inspiration in the positive impact she has had on others.

“My wife serves as a lesson in selflessness for me,” said Maj. Lionel Alford, 29th Weapons Squadron instructor course cadre. “Her impact is driven purely by a desire to give without seeking recognition. She inspires me to strive for a similar level of compassion and generosity and is always seeking ways to make a positive difference in others’ lives.”

While at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Danielle Alford decided to utilize her master’s degree in healthcare administration and joined the Red Cross as a hospital chairman, where she volunteered over 890 hours of her time. She facilitated the placement of volunteers within the hospital and medical group, all while helping individuals maintain their clinical skills and resumes.

From 2016 to 2020, Alford led the Red Cross Hospital Volunteer Program, placing over 123 volunteers in diverse departments within the 374th Medical Group, saving them $400,000.

In addition to contributing 216 hours of service to various organizations such as the Key Spouse program, private organizations, and the spouses club, Alford mentioned that she also volunteered as a guest speaker teaching English to local Japanese individuals.

She described how upon relocating to Little Rock AFB, her drive to help her community extended to organizing meal trains for eight local military families who had recently given birth and coordinated the collection of essential items for Afghan evacuees during relocation efforts at the 41st Airlift Squadron.

Alford added that she has also played a significant role in advocating for improvements in local schools, particularly in relation to the Literacy Empowerment Accountability Readiness Networking and School Safety Act, formerly known as the REFORM Alliance. The LEARNS Act is an education reform package that emphasizes teacher salaries, incentives, and new opportunities for student education.

“I believe in the power of collective action and advocacy,” said Alford. “By raising our voices and sharing our experiences, we can drive positive change.”

Through her efforts, several schools have now embraced the LEARNS Act, allowing both civilian and military families to access better educational opportunities for their children. The act provides funds for families to have the first choice in schooling regardless of the zip code they live in or their family income levels.

Alford currently remains committed to her community involvement mission and is working at Military OneSource to empower military families and veterans to ensure they have access to resources and supporting networks available to them.

Alford's journey as a working mother, military spouse, volunteer, and active member in her community, is a testament to the positive impact one individual can have on the lives of military families, veterans, and their community.

"I am determined to leave a legacy of resilience and empowerment for future generations of military families," said Alford. "I am honored to be nominated and grateful for the opportunity to continue serving and advocating for military families."