#VeteranOfTheDay: Air Force Veteran Donna Marie Wanshon


Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Donna Marie Wanshon. Donna joined the Air Force at age 40 as a social worker in mental health. She did a lot of humanitarian work during deployments, including working with the women and children’s domestic violence house, children’s cancer center, orphanages and Babushkas (elderly women from Russia). She assisted in fundraising for children to receive heart transplants.

Donna worked closely with the Peace Corps country director and provided resiliency training for 37 Peace Corps volunteers who were rescued from their villages during a political uprising, 10 of which were held at gunpoint for 36 hours by masked men with machine guns.

She counseled embassy families who were caught in the crossfire during the political uprising that occurred while she was deployed. She also helped deliver medical supplies to local hospitals for the hundreds of people who were injured during the political uprising. She was also able to donate many clothes, shoes, boots, diapers, toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children’s cancer center, the women and children’s shelter and the orphanages.

Her favorite moments during her time in service were deploying with the 376 EMDG, being coined by General David Petraeus during a deployment and meeting Toby Keith during one of his concerts for the troops.

Some of the jobs she has while in the Air Force were: Chief of Mental Health; Flight Commander, Mental Health, Family Advocacy Officer, Traumatic Stress Response Coordinator, Special Needs Coordinator, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program Manager, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Community Action Information Board Executive, Chairman of Central Registry Board and Family Advocacy Committee.Medically

Donna currently works as a Patient Aligned Care Team social worker for the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is where she has been working since she separated from the Air Force in 2013.

She received the following awards and recognitions during her time in the Air Force: Meritorious Unit Award; Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster; National Defense Service Medal; Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border; Air Force Training Ribbon; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; 376 EMDG Company Grade Officer of the Month.

Thank you for your service, Donna!


Melissa Heintz

Melissa Heintz joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015 and currently works as the National Veterans Day Coordinator, National Veterans Outreach. She grew up on an Army base in Japan before her family relocated to Hawaii. She holds a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications and Spanish from Seattle University. Melissa has served as a public affairs specialist with Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In December 2015, Melissa commissioned in the Air National Guard where she serves as a public affairs officer with the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard.


  1. Ron Bouchard    

    Thank you for all you do for VA.
    Your efforts have blessed many lives.
    God Bless.
    Ron Bouchard, Research Biologist, Denver Colorado.

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