Hello! My name is Samuel Toba – my spouse Phil is a USUHS graduate class of 2012, and currently a resident at Walter Reed. We met in San Diego; I was working for a biotech company and Phil was a prior service (a nuke) in the Navy. Phil grew up in a dairy farm in central Minnesota, whereas I have had a rather nomadic life, including stints in Singapore, Indonesia, and attending multiple schools including Towson University (Go Tiger!), Penn State (Go Nittany Lion!), University of California San Francisco (Go… oh, no mascot!), and San Diego State (Go Aztec!).
Although I have heard of SSC activities during Phil’s MS1 year, I was worried about going to SSC events since the law (at that time) barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. So, instead I followed SSC website and postings of information from a ‘safe’ outside. While I could not partake in those activities at the time, through your postings and pictures, I get to share your joy at events such as the White Coat Ceremony, or the Holiday Party. (Keep up the good work with the SSC website!)
I finally got involved with SSC when Phil was an MS4. During that time, congress passed the law to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). As the new kid on the block, I was not sure how I would be received, or if I would be welcome to play in the same ‘sandbox’. I nervously wrote an email to SSC President, and to my wonderful surprise, SSC reached right out. I think I almost fell off my chair when I received that email reply from Molly Grasso. In September 2011, I got to meet Molly in-person (the first SSC spouse I met, I was excited!) at the DADT Repeal Celebration hosted by Military Partners and Families Coalition (www.milpfc.org). Molly came with arms open, husband Ian on her side, gave me her (famous) hug, and represented SSC in welcoming me into the military families. That welcome showed me the kind of support that we, as military families, give to each other. I feel very fortunate to have found SSC, a welcoming place for all spouses/partners of USUHS.
As a resource, SSC has been amazing! In this last two years, I have learned so much from the informational sessions and enjoyed meeting others at volunteer activities or socials organized by SSC. I hope to continue to give back to SSC and meet other SSC families while we are living in DC.