Age: 36 | Ashburn, Virginia
U.S. Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003-2004
Author, Project Associate
When Kayla Williams came home from Iraq in 2004, she realized America hadn’t changed much—but she had. After serving as a U.S. Army linguist and intelligence specialist overseas, she felt a disconnect with people at home; it seemed to her that most weren’t even aware that we still had troops at war.
Kayla went from being a soldier to civilian, and from sergeant to spouse, in addition to being a caregiver for Brian, her future husband she had met during her tour in Iraq. As Kayla helped her husband heal from a traumatic brain injury—sustained from an improvised explosive device—she began to reach out to other Veterans. Building a community with other Vets and listening to their stories, Kayla found a sense of hope and her voice as an advocate for today’s Veterans.
“It’s important that we tell the complete story of Veterans, and that we work as advocates for one another and to fill in the gaps and break down the barriers where they exist,” Kayla said. “We need to make sure that anybody who’s struggling can get access to the services they need, but we also need to celebrate our success stories.”
Watch Kayla's video