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Benjamin F. Dillingham and Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor

The Benjamin F. Dillingham and Bridget Wilson LGBT Veterans Wall of Honor recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans with ties to San Diego who have taken the oath to serve our country and have done so honorably, and with distinction, acting as role models in advancing equality. The Veterans Wall commemorates these veterans' lives in hopes that their courage, bravery and sacrifices will continue to inspire future generations.


2013 Honorees

Jacque Atkinson, USMC Ben Gomez, USN Joseph Christopher Rocha, USN
John Banvard, USAA Kathleen A. Hansen, USN Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, USMC
Kristen Beck, USN April F. Heinze, USN Evelyn Lynn Thomas, USMC
Stewart Bornhoft, USA Morgan M. Hurley, USN Autumn Violet Sandeen, USN
Carlita "Lee" Durand, USAF Gerard Nadeau, USAA  
Shaun A. Flak, USMC Stephen Peters, USMC  


2012 Honorees

Stan Berry, USN Donald P. Kambic, USA August Provost, USN
Jeri Dilno, USAF Lisa Kove, USN
Luke Terpstra, USA
Benjamin M. Fowler III, USA Robert Lynn, USN
Jim Woodward, USN
George Haverstick, USN Harvey Milk, USN  


Candidate Criteria

Veteran: Candidate must meet the broad definition of a Veteran

•    Took the Oath of Enlistment or Oath of Office
•    Embodies the Core Values of their respective service branch
•    Copy of DD214 is required for each candidate to confirm service

•    Eligible regardless of rank earned, branch of service, or component (Active, Reserve or National Guard)

•    Candidate may be living or deceased

Discharge:

•    Honorable Discharge is required, the only exception being separation based on veteran’s sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status

Contribution:

•    Serves a role model by demonstrating repeated acts of charity, bridge building or community involvement in a manner that advances equality

Eligibility:

•    Must have served in or lived in San Diego County long enough to meet the contribution criteria, but need not have been in San Diego when this contribution criteria was met

Nomination:

•    Must be nominated by someone other than themselves, with five San Diego co-sponsors. Nominator need not be from San Diego. Co-sponsors must be from San Diego and need not know the candidate personally, but must support the candidate’s nomination.

Disqualification:

•    Any candidate registered as a sex offender or charged with sexual molestation (without acquittal) is not eligible for consideration.

Appeal:

•    Anyone wishing to appeal the decision of the LGBT Veteran’s Wall of Honor Advisory Council may do so in writing to The San Diego LGBT Center’s Director of Operations and Quality Management.

To submit a nomination:

Please fill out the online form here and email the completed form to publicaffairs@thecentersd.org.

Or print and mail the completed form to:

Public Affairs Coordinator
San Diego LGBT Community Center
PO Box 3357
San Diego, CA  92103

Advisory Council

Joseph Christopher Rocha - Advisory Council Chair
Former Petty Officer Rocha served two tours as a Navy canine explosive detection handler in the Gulf. Honorably discharged from NAPS, Rocha gave sworn testimony against DADT in the LCR Federal Court challenge that later ruled the policy unconstitutional and unenforceable. Rocha served as President of Catholic USD’s LGBT PRIDE Club in 2010. He currently works as a paralegal, serves as a volunteer service dog trainer at Camp Pendleton and is a candidate for officer selection in the USMC.

April F. Heinze
Captain Heinze served on active duty in the Navy from 1982 to 2005 as a Civil Engineer Corps officer expanding the integration of women in the non-traditional fields of construction and engineering. In 2003, she became the third woman ever promoted to Captain in her specialty. Today she continues to serve in local government as the Director, Department of General Services, for the County of San Diego. She is co-chair of the SLDN Board of Directors.

Stewart Bornhoft
Colonel Stewart Bornhoft, US Army Retired, is a West Point graduate and highly decorated combat veteran with two tours in Vietnam and 26 years of active duty service.   He taught at the US Military Academy, commanded two districts in the US Army Corps of Engineers, and served as Director of Public Works at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.   He has two children, six grandchildren, and lives in Bonita, California, with his husband Stephen, a former Navy pilot.

Kathleen A. Hansen
Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Kathleen A. Hansen (Ret.) served August 1979 – October 2010. Command Master Chief tours include: USS PEARL HARBOR (LSD 52), USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76), Naval Inspector General in Washington DC and Navy Medicine West and Naval Medical Center San Diego. Of note, Master Chief Hansen designed and cast a bell for the Chief Petty Officer rank Centennial Anniversary and was also directly involved in the Groundbreaking and Dedication of the Women's Memorial, both located in Washington, D.C.

Morgan M. Hurley
Morgan M. Hurley is a retired Chief Petty Officer with 22 years of service in the US Navy and Navy Reserve. After leaving active service she became a contractor at COMNAVAIRPAC and was the first female to serve on aircraft carriers. After her work during Desert Storm she was handpicked to help launch SALTS, a ship-to-shore logistics data-transfer system. She later installed this system aboard Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships. Always a writer at heart, she is currently following in her father's footsteps as a newspaper editor.

Evelyn Lynn Thomas
Evelyn Lynn Thomas is a veteran of The Army National Guard and The USMC. She has an Associates Degree, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Social Science Teaching Credential, and Master of Arts in Education. She is an activist minister with The Sanctuary Project Veterans, an elected member of The San Diego County Central Committee and a member of the executive board for The United Veterans Council of San Diego.  She handcuffed herself to The White House fence to advocate for the repeal of DADT.

Ben Gomez
Originally from the Pojoaque Valley outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ben Gomez graduated from Pojoaque High School in 1987 and enlisted in the United States Navy. His last assignment was in San Diego. He has been involved with several San Diego LGBT community organizations and events, but his strongest passion was to help repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He now works as a paralegal at Stokes Roberts & Wagner in downtown San Diego.

Shaun A. Flak
Former Staff Sergeant Shaun A. Flak is a United States Marine Corp Combat Veteran who served one tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his time as a Marine he was meritoriously promoted twice and upheld duties as the Wire section NCOIC and the Armory NCOIC for Kilo Battery 3rd Battalion 12th Marines while obtaining a Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal for such duties. He lives in San Diego, CA and currently studies at Ashford University.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
Will Rodriguez-Kennedy is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served a combat deployment to Iraq in 2007. Upon his return he was honorably discharged under the discriminative “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. Since his discharge he became an advocate for repeal. Will currently serves on the San Diego County Veteran’s Advisory Council, the Board of Directors of San Diego LGBT Pride and is president of the San Diego Blue Dog Democratic Club.