Vice President & Event Director
2019 Elizabeth Dole Caregiver Fellow
I was raised in upstate New York just outside an active Army base. I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for four years before marrying an active duty soldier. I lived the military life for 7 years. I became a substitute teachers aide in March 2010 for a non-profit NY organization, ‘Community Action Planning Council’. I worked as an educator for a year and half. Before my husband deployed in 2011, I joined 10th MTN Division- 7th Engineers, 630 RCC Family Readiness Group. I volunteered as a ‘Key’ caller (responsible for informing other spouses and loved ones of the unit’s injuries) reporting more than 15 injuries and several casualties. As well I was the secretary and co-editor for the FRG Newsletter. I also organized several fundraisers for our FRG and my husband’s squad. In June 2012, my husband was severely injured in combat causing me to go from spouse to caregiver overnight. My training as CNA helped me to provide proper care for my husband in his time of need.
I attended my first A-Head of Healing workshop sponsored by Operation Never Forgotten in Ann Arbor, Michigan in November of 2014. During the workshop I learned that I have secondary PTS. Going to this workshop and meeting others in similar situations like me helped with my healing. I realized that as a Caregiver there is only so much you can do, and the warrior has to want to do the rest on his own. Unfortunately, my marriage ended like many others often do, in divorce. When I found myself alone struggling to move forward, the Ann Arbor Workshop group helped keep me afloat with their support. So, I made it my mission to participate in helping other Caregivers and Veterans in similar situations. I want them to know they are not alone; there is hope and help for everyone.
When John Kinzinger decided to retire from ONF/ A-Head of Healing and start a Michigan-based Veteran and Caregiver Non-profit called Warriors and Caregivers United, I was more than willing to follow him in that endeavor. Now through WACU I am still active in my pursuit of bringing awareness to those who struggle with PTS and secondary PTS. I created a social media group to make sure everyone stays in touch, and I edited our first quarterly newsletter following our second workshop in January 2015 in Mt Pleasant, MI. I currently live in central Michigan with my 3 children, working full time as a caregiver for "Right At Home in Home Care" and being a Veteran’s Caregiver. Whenever possible I dedicate my free time to volunteering for WACU. I was proud to be elected a board member and Secretary of Warriors and Caregivers United in August 2015. Since then, I have helped arrange several social gatherings of our group. I am also taking part in continuing education for caregivers and children directly affected by their loved one’s PTS.
In January of 2019 I was selected to be the 2019/2020 Elizabeth Dole Caregiver Fellow for the state of Michigan. https://hiddenheroes.org/story/stephanie-hall/