Government: Career Employees

The individuals in this category have dedicated their lives to public service. This category honors individuals who devote their lives to serving the interests of veterans, or the public good, and their work is appreciated and recognized by many in the community.

Ron Walters, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, National Cemetery Administration (NCA)

Since January 2009, Ron has served as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. From June 2014-December 2017, Ron served in the additional role as the interim and acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs in the absence of senior leadership. Under his tenure, Ron launched the weekend burial program, same day Presidential Memorial Certificate Program, the Pre-Need Burial Program, and the Veterans Legacy Program. Ron has also led the way in starting NCA’s rural and urban initiatives, giving burial options in sparsely populated areas and the nation’s largest cities. On top of his workplace accomplishments, Ron has a universal reputation for being one of the nicest and most compassionate people within the National Cemetery Administration.

Lakeview Veterans Interagency Hotshot Crew

Interagency Hotshot Crews are the most highly trained and experienced type of hand crews and they must meet and maintain stringent requirements to achieve the IHC status. Their primary mission is to provide a safe, professional, mobile response to all phases of fire management and incident operations. IHCs are staffed, conditioned, equipped, and qualified to meet a variety of strategic and tactical wildland fire assignments, and they are typically relied upon for the most challenging fire assignments. When not committed to fire assignments, IHCs provide a workforce to accomplish a variety of resource management objectives while maintaining availability for incident mobilization.

In 2016, Lakeview Crew 7 and the Lakeview BLM fire organization requested that the Lakeview Veterans Crew begin the process to be certified as an IHC. Over the subsequent two years, the Lakeview Veterans Crew took steps to meet the IHC requirements before being formally certified at the national level.

The Lakeview Veterans Crew is the only Hotshots Crew that recruits and develops exclusively Veterans.

Lee Becker, Chief of Staff, Veterans Experience Office

Lee Becker currently serves as the Chief of Staff, Veterans Experience Office, enabling the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve the customer experience for all Veterans, families, caregivers, and survivors. Prior to his current role, Lee served as a Division Chief at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and provided leadership and development of the VA appeals modernization efforts to help reduce the backlog of Veterans’ appeals.

Prior to VA, Lee served at the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and at the Marine Corps Headquarters as the Deputy Officer in Charge, Wounded Warrior Regiment Medical Division; developing wounded warrior programs to help the transition of all wounded, ill, and injured Marines and families through the continuum of care and ensuring a seamless transition post-military into society and sustained care at the VA.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Lee is a Navy Veteran (former Chief Hospital Corpsman) and served in various operational capacities and platforms providing care to Marines and Sailors in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Dr. Ann McKee, Chief of Neuropathology of VA’s Boston Healthcare System

Dr. Ann McKee is a neuropathologist and expert in neurodegenerative disease at New England Veterans Administration Medical Centers (VISN-1) and is Professor of Neurology and Pathology at Boston University School of Medicine and Director of Boston University CTE Center. She is particularly known for her work studying Alzheimer’s disease and the consequences of repetitive traumatic brain injury. In 2017, she was named Bostonian of the Year by The Boston Globe for her leading work in this area, and in 2018, Time named McKee one of its 100 most influential people.