Branch: Army, Army National Guard
- 1993-1999 active duty
- 2000-2008 Army National Guard
Military Occupation: Infantry
Hometown: Peyton, CO
Twitter Handle: TBD
Tell us a little about you outside of the military:
- After serving on active duty, I continued following the Army value of selfless service by pursuing a career in Law Enforcement. I have been honored to have served as a Homicide and Cold Case Homicide Detective with the Colorado Springs, Colorado Police Department and currently serve as a Major Crimes Agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
- I previously served as the President of the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association, comprised of sworn, civilian and retired members from the Colorado Springs Police Department – many of whom are military veterans.
- I love spending time in the beautiful Colorado backcountry on public lands that American veterans have fought to protect and preserve for future generations.
Why are you participating in the fly-in with IAVA?
- I’m honored to advocate on behalf of the US veterans who served in the post – September 11th, 2001 Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns during the Global War on Terror as a member of the IAVA.
- Using the lessons learned from my unique experiences from combat deployments to Iraq during the GWOT, I want to support the IAVA policy priorities of Combating Suicide, Toxic Burn Pit Exposure, Women Veterans, Modernizing the Veterans Administration, Veteran Education Benefits, and Alternative Therapies. These priorities are essential to me not only as a member of this incredible generation of American Warriors but also because of how these issues affect me personally.
How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today?
- My military service has directly contributed to my successes in my professional and personal life. I have experienced success with accomplishing goals, completing tasks, working as part of a diverse team, and developing my leadership style while serving and leading as an American combat Soldier.
Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you believe is the most pressing? Why?
- The adverse effects of Toxic Burn Pit Exposure are widespread across the ranks of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Global War on Terror. Thanks to the recent bipartisan PACT act being signed into law, the Veterans Administration has been much faster to address this issue when compared to Agent Orange exposure of Vietnam War veterans. Much more research is needed to effectively diagnose and treat the diseases currently linked to burn pit exposure, and the conditions from exposure are yet to be identified.
Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why?
- Combating the epidemic of veteran suicide is personally important to me. After returning from combat operations in Iraq between 2007 – 2008, three of my Soldiers died by suicide: Peter Mares in October 2008, Anthony Eckart in December 2011, and Jeff McMurty in March 2014.
- The challenges facing our veterans require support and mental health care. While great strides have been made to combat veteran suicide, including the recent expansion of mental health care coverage from the Veterans Administration for Veterans in crises, more resources are needed.
More #AllStarAdvocacy videos are available in IAVA’s 2023 All-Star Advocacy Fly-In video showcase.