I live on the beautiful west slope of the Rockies in Grand Junction, CO with my husband and sweet little daughter. I currently serve on the IVAW Board of Directors as the Secretary. I grew up in Canon City, CO and joined the CO Army National Guard when I was 17 in 1996. I enlisted as a medic, but was later deployed twice as a Military Police. Yes, I was a pig, oink oink. I deployed to Hungary and Croatia from 1999-2000 and then to Kuwait and Iraq from 2003-2004. I was stationed at Tallil Airbase near the southern city of Nasariyah. Our unit did convoy escorts, patrols and traffic checkpoints. Basically, we drove around endlessly, antagonized and harassed Iraqis, and secured corporate profits, especially for KBR.
When I returned from Iraq I attended the Veterans For Peace convention in Boston with my father, a Navy vet, and met the other Iraq/Iraq-era vets who would found IVAW. Michael Hoffman, Jimmy Massey, Alex Rybov, Tim Goodrich and Dianna Morrison supported me as I spoke for the first time in public about my experiences in Iraq and the reasons why I was so disgusted with the occupation. At the end of the convention, we announced the formation of Iraq Veterans Against the War. When I returned to Colorado, I started seeking out other vets who had similar feelings and helped to form the first IVAW chapter in Colorado Springs. I worked as IVAW's Executive Director from 2006-2009 and am currently on the Board of Directors.
When I left my job as IVAW's E.D. I got married to the awesome Mr. Jay Ballenberger and spent 7 months in Mexico living on a sailboat, the trusty China Girl, in the Sea of Cortez. The dolphins, blue-footed boobies, and pelicans soothed my soul and our first-mates, the fearless kitty cats Edie and Lola, offered us endless entertainment. I hope to find more fair winds and following seas in my future. In 2013 I welcomed my daughter Beatrix, the blessed voyager, bringer of joy, into the world. Jay, Bea and I undertook the Epic West Coast Road Trip last year and now we are nesting and putting down roots in one of Pachamama's many beautiful, amazing places...western Colorado Territory.
When I returned from Iraq ten years ago, some of my most vivid memories were of pointing my rifle at men and boys while my fellow soldiers burned semi trucks of food and fuel, and of watching the raw grief of a family finding that their young son had been run over and killed by a military convoy.
I remember being frustrated with military...
Branch of Service:
Army National Guard
<p> Deployed with the 220th Military Police unit from the Colorado Army National Guard. Also served as a medic in Det. 5 medical unit, which was way more awesome.</p>