It is with profound sorrow that the family of Alyson Garino announce her passing on December 2, 2023. She was only 30 years old. Her devoted parents, Diane and David Van Grouw treasured their loving daughter. Alyson was cherished by her grandmother Nancy Szwech, her father, Edwin Garino, brothers, Jeffrey, Scott and Kevin Garino, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends and loved ones, including her energetic puppy, Echo and ornery cat, Cobie. Alyson was preceded in death by her grandfather, Stephen H. Szwech, with whom she shared a unique and special bond.
A graduate of Immaculate Heart Academy, she went on to attend Penn State University, State College, and graduated with honors in 2015. A Schreyer Scholar, she majored in English and minored in Military Studies. A distinguished military graduate of the ROTC Nittany Lion Battalion, she received the highly respected American Veterans of WWII award.
Alyson served with distinction as a Captain in the United States Army. Captain Garino's role as Executive Officer for the 536TH Support Maintenance Company, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 25th ID Sustainment Brigade in Hawaii, showcased her leadership and dedication. Her service included a deployment to Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS. Her military career was marked by significant recognition, including the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Overseas Service Ribbon, and Army Service Ribbon.
A dedicated public servant, Alyson worked for the Veterans Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). In October, 2023, she received the Civilian Service Commendation Medal from the Secretary of the Army, for her dedication and commitment as the Chief of the Mission Support Office of the NY District, Army Corp of Engineers, for spectacular leadership and critical support.
Not only was she a passionate and dedicated contributor toward every mission she was assigned, but she also made a difference in every life she touched. A natural and compassionate leader, Alyson was a champion of equity and inclusion. She had unwavering courage to jump in when others looked away. She was the first person to come to the aid of anyone in despair—whether it was a homeless stranger in need of food and clothing or a victim of abuse. With her friends and family she showed up for both the everyday moments and the dramatic hours. When her grandfather was hospitalized, Alyson volunteered for the night shifts as his healthcare advocate. With patience and care, she assisted her Nana, feeding her and taking joy in just being together. Alyson felt the pain of our world deeply and wanted to alleviate suffering wherever she encountered it.
Armed with love and truth, she challenged injustice everywhere she saw it. From thwarting a shoplifter, to advocating for an unrecognized colleague, to advising friends or family, she used her heart and humanity to guide every action. Alyson was articulate and deep, thoughtful and empathetic. An aficionado of Oscar Wilde and an avid seeker of unraveling life’s mysteries, her quick wit and unexpected sarcasm always struck a chord of truth. She loved nature and delighted in the crystal waters of Hawaii as well as the winding paths of Central Park. She was not only fearless out in the world, but also in the kitchen. Her curious nature combined with her insatiable appetite made her an aspiring and adventurous cook. Above all, Alyson’s greatest joy was the unconditional love and affection of her pups, Oscar, Sunny and Echo.
For those of us blessed by Alyson’s presence in this lifetime, words are not enough to describe her authentic warrior spirit and selfless service. Although her years were too few, the impact she made was profound. Alyson, by acting in every moment with passion and purpose, you inspire us to express our humanity through action. The way you lived and loved in your life was your message.
A visitation for Alyson will be held Sunday, December 10, 2023, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Becker Funeral Home, 219 Kinderkamack Road, Westwood, NJ 07675. A funeral service will occur Monday, December 11, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM at Our Lady of Mercy R.C. Church, 2 Freemont Avenue, Park Ridge, NJ 07656. A committal service will occur Monday, December 11, 2023, from 11:45 AM to 12:15 PM at Maryrest Cemetery, 770 Darlington Avenue, Mahwah, NJ 07430 with repast at Bacari Grill, 800 Ridgewood Rd, Township of Washington, NJ to follow.
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