Alysa and Adam Cooper

Alysa and Adam Cooper celebrated their first anniversary on Memorial Day. Adam is a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves and an emergency room physician at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Alysa is the executive director of Phoenix-based Citizenship Counts.    

Photo courtesy of Alysa Cooper

On May 25, 2015, which fell on Memorial Day this year, Alysa (nee Ullman) and Adam Cooper celebrated their first wedding anniversary. The proximity of their wedding date to Memorial Day is no accident, according to Alysa. May is National Military Appreciation Month and the couple thought it would be a nice way to honor the sacrifices of their family members and friends who serve and continue to serve in the nation’s military.

“It provided somewhat of a unique platform to weave together Adam’s service in the U.S. Navy along with my commitment to inspiring pride in America through Citizenship Counts, an organization that I founded with my grandmother (Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein).”

The couple also made a donation in honor of each wedding guest to the Folds of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational scholarships to family members of those who are disabled or killed while on active duty.

But the backstory of how the couple met upstages the actual wedding. In Oct. 2012, Alysa attended a wedding of a close friend in Phoenix and was seated at a table next to a couple. They exchanged pleasantries and she discussed her work with Citizenship Counts and the importance of Judaism in her life. “I was seated next to the husband, so I talked primarily to him. He stopped me mid-sentence and said, ‘I know this is going to sound strange because you just met me and you don’t know me at all, but I really feel like you’d be a perfect match for my buddy,’ ” Alysa says. “Then he proceeded to get out his phone and show me pictures.” But there was a caveat: Adam lived in Philadelphia.

“At the end of the night, the husband said, ‘Can I get your phone number or email and pass it along to him?’ I said yes, and the rest, as they say, is history,” Alysa says. They started emailing and then had phone conversations. In January 2013, Alysa went to Philadelphia for their first date. They were engaged a year later and married on May 25, 2014.

“What I didn’t know at the time was that his friend had texted Adam at the Oct. 2012 wedding with the message, ‘I just met your future wife,’” she says. Adam still has that text message and the couple included it in their wedding video. They are expecting their first child in July.