#VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Gretchen Evans

Army Veteran Gretchen Evans is today’s Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Gretchen Evans, who served 27 years and is now a motivational speaker and advocate for Veterans living with disabilities.

Command Sgt. Maj., Gretchen Evans served worldwide in her deployments with the U.S. Army. Evans grew up in Abilene, Texas, and enlisted in the Army in September 1979 when she was 19. She had hopes of gaining new skills and to learn how to support herself independently. She fell in love with the military’s sense of mission, structure and camaraderie.

After completing basic training, Evans would serve in Italy, Central America and the Middle East as a counterintelligence soldier conducting counterterrorism operations. In 2004, she was promoted to Command Sgt. Maj. and served next to Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry in her final deployment to Afghanistan. In this role, she managed the safety and security of all the military security, personnel and 30,000 ground troops across the U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.

In 2006, her career was cut short when a mortar round’s detonation left her with severe brain injuries and completely deaf. She was honorably discharged from the military and began recovery at home, where she channeled her grief into running, hiking and writing a compilation of other Veterans’ stories and experiences she titled, “Leading from the Front.” The success of this book inspired her to become a motivational speaker for Veterans and large organizations. She and her hearing service dog, Aura, have toured the country inspiring others for almost 17 years.

Throughout her work, she has also continued her love of running and adventure pairing with other Veterans and civilians with disabilities to form Team Unbroken. She trained this team and led them to compete in World’s Toughest Race: Eco Challenge Fiji, hosted by Bear Grylls which premiered on Amazon Prime. Her group was the first team of individuals with disabilities to ever compete in and complete the race. Evans continued to train the team with goals of participating in more marathons, cycling challenges and even two “Ironman” triathlons.

Evans has served on the board and an ambassador for many organizations seeking to provide accessibility and resources for Veterans. She has been a board member with America’s VetDogs. More recently, she has served as an ambassador for No Barriers and the Wounded Warrior Project. She is a spokesperson for the Dogtopia Foundation, which seeks to supply service dogs for Veterans, and youth literacy programs and employment initiatives for adults with autism. Throughout her advocacy work, she has run over 30 marathons by herself donating all proceeds to organizations that aid Veterans.

Now, after moving 27 times, receiving 27 awards and decorations as well as 27 years of active-duty service, Evans has settled in Maine with her husband, Navy Captain and Chaplain Robert Evans. In 2022, she was presented with the ESPY’s Pat Tillman Award along with induction into the Veteran’s Hall of Fame and the U.S. Army Women Veteran Hall of Fame.

We honor her service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to [email protected] with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Writer: Sarah McDonald

Editors: Marisa Bunton, Ashley Shaut

Researcher: Raphael Romea

Graphic Designer: Jaylon Buckles

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Force for Health® Network News, My Healthy Veteran

Related Articles

5 Essential Frameworks for Preventing Violent Child Death

The U.S. has a violent child death problem. Developing strategies to prevent violent child deaths death from firearms and traffic crashes is a demanding task that requires consideration of numerous upstream, interrelated, and tangential issues. To help safety advocates develop strategies to prevent violent child death, we compiled five frameworks to help: Understand and explain …
The post 5 Essential Frameworks for Preventing Violent Child Death appeared first on Salud America.

What Are the Risk and Protective Factors for Violent Child Death?

Gun violence and traffic crashes may seem like unpredictable events. But they are not random. They are systematic. Data reveal trends and patterns in gun violence and traffic crashes that can help us identify risk factors and protective factors. This is especially important for addressing violent child deaths. So what does the data show? Join …
The post What Are the Risk and Protective Factors for Violent Child Death? appeared first on Salud America.

As Social Need Screening Advances, Transportation Remains an Afterthought

Some big changes in 2022 and 2023 have set up the healthcare sector to advance screening for non-medical social needs in 2024 and beyond. This is great news as we work to address social determinants of health (SDoH), improve health outcomes, and reduce health disparities. But one key social need – transportation – isn’t getting …
The post As Social Need Screening Advances, Transportation Remains an Afterthought appeared first on Salud America.

We Need to Recognize Toxic Stress as a Health Condition with Clinical Implications

There is a common health condition with serious medical consequences that has not been nationally recognized by the medical or public health community—toxic stress response. Toxic stress is the body’s response to prolonged trauma─like abuse or discrimination─with no support. It can harm lifelong mental, physical, and behavioral health, especially for Latinos and others of color. …
The post We Need to Recognize Toxic Stress as a Health Condition with Clinical Implications appeared first on Salud America.