WASHINGTON, DC (Dec. 8, 2021) – Today the HillVets Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) announced U.S. Navy veteran Kirsten Laha-Walsh as the recipient of the inaugural HillVets-WWP Fellowship.
“Kirsten Laha-Walsh is the perfect choice to be the first HillVets-Wounded Warrior Project Fellow. As a Navy veteran and caregiver for her retired Marine Corps spouse and Purple Heart recipient, she has a passion for empowering and supporting wounded veterans,” said HillVets Foundation Executive Director Betty Rhoades. “Kirsten just completed the HillVets LEAD program as part of Cohort 6, and we are so proud that she has chosen to continue her public policy and advocacy training. We’re humbled that she has put her trust in HillVets and Wounded Warrior Project, and we know she will make a big impact on the military-connected community.”
Announced earlier this year, the HillVets-WWP Fellowship is unique in that the fellow will serve six months as a legislative fellow for the U.S. House For Country Caucus, a bipartisan group of members of Congress who are all U.S. military veterans. The fellowship will be followed by a six-month rotation working at WWP with the Government & Community Relations team. The fellowship is open to post-9/11 veterans interested in pursuing a career in advocacy and public policy.
“After a fantastic experience in the LEAD Cohort, I was inspired and excited to move on to this incredible fellowship and partnership,” Laha-Walsh said. “I look forward to continuing to advocate for military and veteran families and learn about macro policy on the national level.”
Laha-Walsh served in the U.S. Navy, where she worked as a hospital corpsman, specializing as a respiratory therapist. She provided both outpatient and inpatient support for active-duty members, dependents, and beneficiaries while serving as a non-commissioned officer. Prior to her service, she worked in the entertainment sector focusing on logistics and coordination.
“We’re excited for Kirsten to take part in this fellowship, which will help make her an even stronger advocate for our nation’s veterans,” said Jose Ramos, WWP vice president, Government and Community Relations. “We hope she will be the first in a long line of next-generation advocates for our military service members and veterans who benefit from this partnership.”
Laha-Walsh is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Work at the University of Alabama focusing on the military and veteran-affiliated populations.
“She is a frontline leader who leads with her head and heart,” said Dr. David L. Albright, University Distinguished Research Professor and Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair in Mental Health Research at The University of Alabama, and Director of the Office for Military Families and Veterans at the School of Social Work. “Kirsten will be an asset as she is committed to the mission of the social work profession to enhance human wellbeing and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with a focus on military and veteran families.”
HillVets’ mission is to serve the community of veterans, service members, and supporters in our nation’s capital with opportunity, mentorship, housing, peer support, and training in their pursuit of continued service in government.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.
HillVets Media Contact
Betty Rhoades, Executive Director
Wounded Warrior Project Media Contact
Ed Frank, Senior Public Affairs / Communications Specialist
UA social work Media Contact
Nicholas Finch, Communications Specialist