Air Force Veteran & Navy Spouse
DC Cohort 18
Brenda is a veteran of the Air Force (AF) who entered the service as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). Ironically, she also concluded her military career thirty-two-years later (to the day) at the same location. She grew up in central Wisconsin as the youngest of five children on a small self-sustaining farm. Her father was a telephone repair technician and mother a waitress; both worked the same job their entire lives and are still running the farm (now just without animals) in their 90’s. She has two brothers and three sisters. Her brothers live in WI and one sister lives in Denver and the other in Baltimore. Brenda is married to her husband, Ed, and they have three children, two daughters-in-law and one grandchild (Maverick – 4). Her husband is Navy Reserve retired and works in healthcare. He recently transitioned from a twenty-year career teaching in a post-graduate university program to working for himself as a healthcare contractor.
Brenda’s oldest son (32) is an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) soldier embedded in a Special Forces unit in North Carolina and her youngest son (24) is currently in pilot training in Mississippi with the Air Force. Her daughter (26) recently graduated with her Master’s degree in Public Health and works for the Colorado Health Initiative in Denver.
Brenda’s first active-duty assignment was as a student in the Army-Baylor Physical Therapy Program. She continued to work as a therapist throughout the remainder of her military career as a clinician, medical advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force on disability and personnel cases, the Chief of AF Musculoskeletal Care Medical Readiness, and as a provider in sports medicine. She had several other special assignments while on active duty and when she transitioned into the Reserve force; the first being as a Track and Field coach and instructor at USAFA. She also served in leadership at the Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center. Further, she was committed for eighteen years to her additional duty with Armed Forces Sports serving as an Ambassador, USA Team Lead, AF Captain and Athlete with the USA and AF Distance Running Teams. These opportunities took her to thirteen countries, five continents and the World Military Games during her tenure.
While also serve as a Reserve Officer, Brenda worked in several civilian positions. She worked in private practice as a clinician, then for General Electric Co. first as a Process Improvement Leader and Strategy Consultant, next in Change Management and Leadership Development and finally leading a Sales & Serve team at INOVA Health System in Northern Virginia. When she left the corporate world, she developed and instructed the Introduction to Healthcare and Medical Science Career Program with her local school district and college while also coaching Track & Field.
Brenda is active in multiple areas outside of work; most are related to health & wellness or growth and fall into three main categories: teaching/mentoring, sports and community. Brenda has served as a Young Female Leadership Program Panel Member. She actively serves in a military/veteran female career counselor program and as a USAFA Cadet Sponsor. She has acted as adjunct faculty to her local university and community college, been a clinical instructor to physical therapy students and taught aqua@c rehabilitation. She is passionate about three sports – running, biking and swimming (in that order); although you will find her participating in almost any outdoor adventure sport. She runs most days, has been a running club leader and race director. She bikes on the other days (road or mountain); she is a trained swimming official and has been known to do some triathlons. She enjoys yoga and is learning about meditation.
Brenda served for fifteen years as a small group leader in her church, she was a regional wellness coach and has been Event Coordinator for numerous non-profit organizations. She helped establish a Wounded Warrior Retreat, functioned as Area Leader for several veteran and women’s groups. She is a Service Academy Advisory Board member for her Virginia Congressional District. Brenda is devoted to her family and works hard to create safe spaces for conversations and provide a welcoming and healthy environment for her adult children to return - whether that is to their home in Virginia or Colorado.