Melissa Walther

Branch: Army Reserve
Years Served: 1999-2008
Rank: E-4
Military Occupation: 46Q Public Affairs Specialist
Twitter Handle: @MWalther16181

Tell us a little about you outside of the military:

  • I currently live in Colorado Springs with my husband and dog and enjoy hiking, gardening, gaming and craft brews.

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • I want to do my part to make the lives of veterans better and ensure the next generation does not have to fight the same battles we did.

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

  • My military service taught me the importance of caring about strangers, doing what’s right and necessary — even in the face of adversity or fear — persistence, perseverance, adaptability and the overwhelming importance of friendship, loyalty and trust, even among people you just met and may never see again.

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

  • I believe burn pits and toxic exposure is the most pressing issue, and in many ways is linked with modernizing the VA. Toxic exposure is far from a new issue for the military and it’s frankly unacceptable how long it has taken for exposure issues to be recognized, from agent orange to burn pits and beyond. Veterans are living with — or dying from — exposures that were entirely predictable and avoidable. Service should not come with an almost universal expectation of a reduced quality of life or significantly shortened lifespan.

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

  • While I have a strong personal connection to several of IAVA’s policies, women veterans issues is the one I feel the strongest connection to. Women are making up an increasing number of veterans, yet are often overlooked, ignored, marginalized or condescended to, especially when it comes to health care. Legitimate issues are either seen as unimportant because they only effect women, or are viewed as an exaggeration and not given the care they require.
  • Additionally, most pharmaceuticals and treatments are tested and designed exclusively with men in mind, meaning that even when women do receive the care they need, outcomes are often not optimal.


Our country has an obligation to fulfill its promise to honor and support vets. Make a donation today to help IAVA fulfill its mission to connect, unite, and empower post-9/11 veterans.

Charity Navigator Four-Star RatingExcellence in GivingCharityStateRegistration.orgGuidestarAmerica's Best