The U.S. Navy has named Brian Alvarado its 2018 Spouse of the Year, marking the first time a same-sex partner has received the honor.
Alvarado, who resides in San Diego, was nominated by two fellow military spouses for his “tireless work” on behalf of Hiring Our Heroes, an employment resource for veterans and spouses of service members. Officials selected him from a pool of more than 800 nominees—and now, he’s in the running for overall Military Spouse of the Year.
The honoree and his husband, Matthew, a Navy sailor of 19 years, even appeared on The Ellen Show. Walmart gifted the pair a $10,000 donation toward Hiring Our Heroes. (They had a gift for Ellen, too, presenting the out icon with an honorary military Challenge Coin for “inspiring the nation with love and hope.”)
The couple was asked to appear on the show shortly after Alvarado found out he’d been selected as Spouse of the Year.
“That was a surreal moment in my life,” Alvarado, who comes from a military family himself, told Military.com.
The moment was doubly surreal as an openly gay partner to a service member, he said, and it just reaffirmed his commitment to the military community: “I believe with all of my heart with those [equal] rights come the responsibility to engage, to give back, and to participate in the military community as a whole.”