HONOREE: Hillary LaFever-Ceja, NOMINATOR: Brittney Garland
My roommate and best friend is truly an inspiration.
She is an Iraq veteran, as well as a war widow and single mother to two children, one of whom has special needs. After serving eight years in the Army, she enrolled in college at ASU.
She is humble in recognizing her own leadership qualities, but was quickly recruited to lead within the Student Veterans Association. She began as the Community Service Chair, planning monthly community outreach events for the clubs members, as well as collecting over 200 pounds of clothing for homeless veterans in six months.
Her performance as Community Service Chair was so outstanding that she was elected Vice President the next year and recently President for the upcoming year. She welcomes each new student veteran member into the club and continues to not only spread awareness, but gather resources and opportunities for the members as well.
She has recently begun to develop a mentorship program for student veterans at ASU. She also volunteers, in addition to the SVA's outreach events, at The Welcome to America Project, an organization that assists newly-settled refugees.
As I described previously, she is no stranger to heartbreak and tragedy, but the saying "the kindest hearts have felt the most pain" perfectly describes her. Her dedication to veterans and community service is extraordinary. She has continued to serve wherever possible since discharging and always with a huge smile and amazing passion.