GEICO Military Service Award winner helping communities fight youth substance abuse

NEW YORK, N.Y., May 17, 2019 – U.S. Air National Guard Technical Sgt. Carissa Ann Siry is on the front lines of the nation's battle against substance abuse.

A Civil Operations Specialist with the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force in New York, New York, Tech Sgt. Siry assists more than 25 community-based coalitions and three major college campuses in confronting addiction. It's work that she is strongly passionate about, and she's determined to make a difference and save lives.

"The safety of our youth is vital because they are our future," said the Long Island, New York, native.

Tech Sgt. Siry's efforts to safeguard future generations have earned her a 2018 GEICO Military Service Award. She accepted the honor last month at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

A longing to be a fighter and advocate for people and causes is what drove her to enlist in 2011.

"I wanted to be of service to others and be a part of a greater cause," she said.

As a member of the Air National Guard, Tech Sgt. Siry is always prepared to "defend freedom and protect communities," not only here in the United States but around the world. She has deployed three times with the Westhampton Beach, New York-based 106th Rescue Wing - once to Iraq and twice to Djibouti, a country on the Horn of Africa. In Djibouti, she volunteered to serve as a community liaison, with duties that included delivering school supplies to local students and serving as a rape crisis counselor.

She is married to Air Force Master Sgt. Joseph Siry, who proposed to his wife after their deployment to Djibouti. With both the Sirys serving their country, time together is precious. Tech Sgt. Siry says being away from her husband and family is perhaps the toughest aspect of military service, but even that has a silver lining.

"We both travel a lot and not always together, but that has brought our two families closer together, so we have support while we are apart," she said.

The close friendships she's built with fellow service members have also been of great comfort when she's deployed or traveling. Her glass-half-full outlook on life also comes in handy, helping her to see the good in every circumstance.

"I would say your military career depends on your outlook," she explained. "Some days are really challenging, but having a positive attitude and overcoming obstacles is what makes you stronger and a better person overall."

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the GEICO Military Service Awards, which honor one enlisted member from each of the five Armed Services and one member from the National Guard or Reserve for their achievements and contributions to civilian and military communities. 

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