ELKO - Kat Kaelin, formerly Kat Torrise, moved from the high desert in Spring Creek to Afghanistan in 2011 as part of a 20-woman Cultural Support Team sent in to locate terrorists.
“The deployment forever changed my life, not only working with these honorable men and women, but also losing the most vital member of our team, Ashley White,” Kaelin said.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon wrote “Ashley’s War,” a book about White and her team in Afghanistan, including Kaelin. The book is being made into a movie that is expected to be released in a year and a half.
“The transition of coming out of the military is terrible for women,” Kaelin said. “The world crashes around you.”
The former staff sergeant, like many other veterans, has battled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Kaelin attributes her family and other support for helping her through the worst of it.
“If I hadn’t had them I might have ended up on the streets, or worse,” she said.
It took three years for Kaelin to adjust to regular life after service, and that process is still evolving.
Les Brown, Founder and Senior Advisor of the POW*MIA Elko Awareness Association, explained that serving a cause is what helps most people with PSTD come to terms with what they have been through.
Kaelin has found her cause: the fight against homelessness for women veterans and their children.
According to statistics there are 55,000 homeless women veterans in the United States today. Kaelin finds this unacceptable.
Final Salute and Ms. Veteran America were founded by female veteran Jaspen Boothe as a way to address and help solve this problem.
Ms. Veteran America is the leading fundraiser for Final Salute Inc., a nonprofit that seeks to provide safe and suitable housing for women veterans. Final Salute stands up for women veteran rights and helps struggling vets reestablish independence.
Kaelin is running for Ms. Veteran America for 2016 and hopes to raise $5,000 or more for Final Salute through her campaign.
If she wins, Kaelin will spend a year as spokeswoman for American female veterans.
“This is a life mission for me,” said Kaelin.
Whatever the outcome of the contest, Kaelin said she will go on speaking out for female vets. She feels it is her duty and a way to keep her friend Ashley White’s memory alive.
Kaelin now lives in Georgia with her husband and three children. Her mother, Ruth Lee, has stepped up to the plate here in her hometown to raise awareness for her daughter’s campaign.
“I really want to let the public know what my daughter is doing to help these women,” said Lee, holding a photo of Kaelin.
To this end, Lee has partnered with Les Brown and Tom Wolf to gather momentum for the cause. They are hoping to rally around their fellow veteran, who they have watched grow up, go to war, and become the military women’s advocate that she is today. They will be focusing on campaign awareness and then hope to build a rally from there.
“There are a lot of our older members who remember Kat,” said Wolf. “I am sure they will be glad to help.”
Healing Heroes Network (HHN) has been providing financial assistance to our veterans since 2008. As a non-profit organization, HHN's primary focus is to provide the means for wounded warriors to get the treatment and therapies they deserve and need.
Along with sweepstakes advertised at Hero Giveaway, HHN solely relies on the graciousness of their followers on Facebook through donations, merchandise, and entries to HG's giveaways.
Thanks for your continued support for our troops. For more information, and to donate to the cause, click the link below!
Comments will be approved before showing up.