HONOREE: Christine Johnston-Klauschie
NOMINATOR: Jennifer Klauschie
Nomination letter: I would like to nominate Christine Johnston-Klauschie, PsyD for the ABC 15 Salutes Veterans!
As a woman veteran, Christine is a shining example of what it means to go above and beyond for a cause she truly loves.
Christine lives and works to help fellow veterans. Her occupation is a psychologist at the Veterans Administration here in Phoenix, Arizona. This means that every day she is in the "trenches" with other veterans, helping them live better lives, make healthy choices, and battle their emotional scars. Christine served in the Army over 20 years ago. She wanted to give herself to the cause of freedom. She made a difficult decision to leave the military after her service contract in order to go to school to ultimately be able to provide mental health services for others in the military and after their service. As soon as her training was complete, she was able to achieve her dream job with the Phoenix Veterans Administration and has been with the VA since that time.
She is a proud woman veteran working every day with some of the most challenging issues facing veterans today, such as PTSD and readjustment after trauma. She is the lead staff at the West Valley Vet Center for military sexual trauma and does community outreach to assist female and male veterans affected by military sexual trauma. It is emotionally draining, but each day she is thankful for her opportunity with the VA.
Beyond her actual work duties, she volunteers for multiple events every year that serves the cause of veterans. She has volunteered for "Day on the Lake" with Barrows Institute and encourages her fellow vets to participate. She has done "Ride for Soldiers" multiple years in a row, and gathers donations from friends and family to go to the cause. She has participated in the VA "Stand Downs," a yearly event to get homeless veterans access to care, benefits, shelter, and other services! She has been the highest donor of water for the VA2K Veterans event that occurs yearly to collect water for homeless vets; she not only donates herself, but she goes out to to grocery stores, shops etc. to ask the managers if they will donate to the cause. She has been wildly successful and rises to the challenge every year to get more donations for this cause!!
But one of the kindest things I have seen from her happened just before Christmas this year.
During the annual office event to choose families in need of a little extra for the holidays, Christine found out that a family whom she had donated to (a single mother and her son), had recently been homeless and had a new apartment, but had NOTHING in this apartment. They were sleeping on the floors.
She sprung into action, and called several mattress stores and found one that happily agreed to donate 2 beds (any size for the mom and son) and bedding! They came out and set up the beds as a surprise! She herself donated bus tickets, food, and other items in need so that the mom and son could feel just a little more like people again after their recent difficult times!
I was able to be present during this AMAZING DONATION! To see the look on this mother's face and smile on her young son's face! PRICELESS. I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS.
She is an inspiration to me to do get out there and volunteer. She has put a smile on many peoples' hearts because she truly cares and wants to go above and beyond for others; especially in her hear other veterans!
Please consider her for this award!!!
To learn more about Vet Center programs in Arizona visit, www.vetcenter.va.gov