Kristin Beck, author and advocate
Kristin Beck served in the United States Navy from 1990 to 2011, when she retired as a Senior Chief Petty Officer and Navy SEAL. Over the course of two decades of service, she fought in the Balkan civil war, the first Gulf War, the Horn of Africa, in advance of the 2003 invasion into Iraq, and she spent a cumulative several years in various small outposts in Afghanistan while also executing solo missions along the Pakistan border. She’s earned the Bronze Star with Valor, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and numerous other medals, ribbons, and devices commensurate with a lifetime of selfless sacrifice in service to our great Nation and the ideals for which it stands. She has since gone on to become an author, writing a book entitled Warrior Princess which details her memoirs, struggles, and journey as a Navy SEAL coming out as transgender. Without question she has set a courageous and visible example for countless others who may be feeling and struggling similarly while at the same time being a staunch advocate at the national level in these issues. She is the founder and president of the Mindful Valor Foundation, created to educate and promote the recognition of traumatic events affecting personal development, well-being, adjustment and the fulfillment of a well-balanced, rewarding life. She is also part of Left of Bang: The Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, and she serves as a National Veterans Advocacy Officer at Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Ashlynne Haycock, TAPS
Ashlynne Haycock was instrumental to the effort to axe the widows tax, marshaling the efforts of dozens of others across multiple organizations. She stormed the Hill, met personally with countless members of congress and/or their staff representatives, and participated in numerous media outreach/press conference efforts to bring attention to this issue. After decades of little to no progress, Ashlynne took charge and achieved definitive results, to the benefit of innumerable Gold Star families both current and future. The impacts of her efforts will be felt for decades to come.