Wounded Warrior Program Five Year Anniversary
Eric Espinoza helps veterans secure the benefits they are entitled to receive. Sarah Smith worked on veterans’ issues and enjoyed helping veterans find benefits they earned.
Espinoza and Smith are just two of the 99 wounded veterans of the House Wounded Warrior Program. Now celebrating its fifth year, the program’s goal is to provide employment and career transition opportunities to wounded and disabled veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The first wounded warrior was placed in a two year fellowship in June 2008. Of the 66 fellows who have transitioned through the program, 12 have been retained in Congressional staff positions, and seven now use their fellowship experience as case workers with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Other fellows have moved on to opportunities with the federal government, veterans’ advocacy groups, and law enforcement.
Patricia Orsini, herself a veteran, directs the House Wounded Warrior Program. She works closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Program, various Veterans Service Organizations, and the wounded warrior programs within the Department of Defense.
The fact that several Members are on a waiting list for wounded warrior fellows, Orsini says, testifies to the program’s success.