Kay Kensington

Branch: United States Air Force
Years Served: May 2002 – October 2006
Rank: Senior Airman
Military Occupation: Air Transportation Specialist
Twitter Handle:  @KayKensington

Tell us a little about you outside of the military:

  • My life is defined by the desire to help others, and I achieve this primarily through volunteerism and Veteran advocacy;
  • In my free time, I like to hike, camp, and spend time outdoors.
  • I am currently training for a summit attempt of Mount Rainier in the summer of 2025! 

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • Advocating for fellow Veterans has been my entire adult life’s work, and I am excited to be able to continue in this endeavor with IAVA.
  • I was unable to continue serving after being injured in the military, and so serving as a civilian and advocating for my fellow Veterans is how I continue to make a difference.
  • IAVA has been at the forefront of bringing about positive change, and I am so excited and privileged to be able to aid in this effort! 

How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today? 

  • As an immigrant from Greece, my family and I came to America in pursuit of the American Dream. I fulfilled this dream through my service, as every good thing in my life, from my education to my career to my home, have come about as a result of my military service.
  • I was the first person in my family to serve, and have convinced a half dozen of my family members to also join in our nation’s service in the years since.
  • My ambition, determination, focus, and desire to leave things better than I found them were all cultivated through military service, and it has left an indelible mark on the person I am today. 

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you believe is the most pressing? Why? 

  • In looking at IAVA’s Policy Priorities, I believe Combating Suicide is the most pressing because there are so many Veterans who feel isolated, without direction, and hopeless.
  • I hear from Veterans all across the country about long wait times for mental health appointments, difficulty transitioning to civilian life, and feeling out of place; my heart breaks as I remember when I used to feel this way.
  • Getting involved and connecting with other Veterans gave me purpose, and I believe there are far too many fellow Veterans who still don’t feel a sense of purpose and are in despair and ultimately end their lives because of it. 

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why? 

  • Combating Suicide –  I’d like to tell you about my battle buddy and one of my closest friends. His name was Luis Carlos Montalvan. Luis was the person I would always go to when life was difficult and I needed counsel and wisdom. He was a good man and he loved his country. When Luis came home from the war, he had many personal challenges. Eventually, he became an amputee. Luis wrote a New York Times best-selling book about his service dog called “Until Tuesday”, he gave speeches in schools across the country, and he seemed so happy; and then one day he was gone. I was devastated. He is the reason why I changed careers and became more involved with advocating for my fellow Veterans. I don’t want others to feel as in despair and hopeless as he did, and I think there is much more we can do to help our fellow Veterans in this regard.


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