The show airs on Monday, April 9.
San Diego’s own Brian L. Alvarado was asked to appear on The Ellen Show along with his husband Matthew this month. Ellen asked them to come sit on her famous couch where legendary celebrities have sat before to recognize Brian’s title as the 2018 Armed Forces Insurance Navy Spouse of the Year.
Not only is this an honored recognition within the military community, this is also a historic one for the LGBT community. Brian is the first LGBT military spouse to be selected as Branch Winner for this program. Brian says it is important to him and his husband, an active duty sailor in the United States Navy, to use this platform to advance the Department of Defense’s equality initiatives.
“I believe strongly that as a same-sex military spouse, we fought hard for equality, both in service to the nation and for marriage equality and now we have those rights. With those rights, comes the responsibility to engage, give-back, and support the military community as a whole.”
The Ellen show was contacted by the editor of Military Spouse Magazine who happens to be good friends with a producer on the show.
“When they found out that I was going to be selected as a Branch Winner,” says Brian, “she reached out to her friend and told them about our story. Then we did a series of over the phone, and video conference interviews with several producers and then we got the call one day that they would like for us to be on the show and share our story with Ellen and her audience.”
When taping day finally arrived the couple headed to the Los Angeles studio. Brian says initially he felt cool and in control but that soon gave way to some understandable stage nerves.
“I mean, it’s Ellen DeGeneres for one,” he said. “And for two, it’s the highest-rated daytime talk show, and we are just a couple of normal guys living normal lives! When we were standing right off stage waiting to be called out I thought to myself, you’ve got this. I was wrong. The music started playing, the audience started screaming and the stage manager said ‘go’, and I grabbed Matthew’s hand and we looked at each other and just said, let’s do it. We rounded the corner and I saw the audience and then looked over and saw Ellen, standing there clapping for us with a huge beautiful smile on her face and I lost all the mental prep I had done.”
The comedienne quickly put them at ease as much as she could by asking them questions about the program and Matthew’s time in the service.
“We talked about Hiring our Heroes and the work I do with that organization on a volunteer basis," Brian explains. "We also got the chance to talk to her and thank her for being a role model and a positive force for good in the world. That was very special for us.”
Brian says some celebrities that were in attendance wished them luck in the next phase, “The overall Military Spouse of the Year will be revealed at the National USO Gala in Washington DC in May,” said Brian.
Until the announcement of that winner, Brian says his new title is just that, a title. It’s what the winners choose to do with it that makes them unique. He plans to use this bigger platform to continue working with Hiring Our Heroes.
“The Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network provides military spouses with career development and networking opportunities in military communities around the world. An integral part of Hiring Our Heroes' Military Spouse Program, the network empowers military spouses at a grassroots level year-round.”
As for being the 2018 Armed Forces Insurance Navy Spouse of the Year, Brian remains modest.
"To be quite honest, it is the single most humbling experience of my life," he says. "To be selected through the different levels of the program, with voting and judging panels, is something I never thought possible."
The Ellen episode airs today on NBC 7 at 3 pm.
You can see the full clip below: