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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.



2014 Honorees

Dennis Michael Fiordaliso, USN
John Carlos Keasler, USA Thomas Joseph Seguine, USN
Robert Hall "Jess" Jessop, USN Robert A. Lehman, USMC Frank Stefano, USN


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 Community Center’s CHief Operating Officer.

To submit a nomination:

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

Or print and mail the completed form to:

Director of Community Outreach
San Diego LGBT Community Center
PO Box 3357
San Diego, CA  92103

Advisory Council

Sean Sala, Chair
Sean Sala is a national LGBT, social and sexual rights activist and organizer of the 2011 Active Duty Military March in San Diego in which over 250 active duty Military marched in San Diego Pride while Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still national law. He also was an organizer and liaison for the 2012 Active Duty Military March in which he pressured top military brass resulting in the Pentagon issuing a historical first time blanket certification and approved the United States Military to wear their full uniforms for the first time in a pride parade in US history. Over 450 military personnel participated in this march. He served on the national leadership committee of Servicemembers United and has been featured on the ‘Real World,’ MTV sponsored internet casts on gay rights, local, national and international news. Sean recently co-founded the Military Freedom Coalition. He served in the U.S. Navy for 6 years in Naval Intelligence, went on three combat tours and is an Iraq War Veteran.

Jacquelyn Atkinson
Jacquelyn Atkinson is a highly decorated honorably discharged veteran, Wounded Warrior Alumni and Protected Combat Medal Veteran with Combat decorations. She was a USMC Combat Engineer Officer from 2000-2006 (active duty) Where she served as a Platoon commander from 2001-2002 7th ESB, then a Company Commander in support of Iraqi Operation Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom 2002-2005 attached to 1stMARDIV and 1st BSSB,  the Asst. Public Works officer MCAS Miramar 2005-2006. She transitioned into the USMC IRR in 2007-2009 to pursue a civilian career mitigating the threats to Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) then entered into the CAANG 49th MP BDE in 2009 when she deployed as a Foreign Police Transition Team Advisor in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009-2010. She volunteered for an extended tour as a CENTCOM Joint Forces Vulnerability Officer In Charge in direct support to Operations New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom 2010-2011 before she returned to her civilian position as a successful Business Women. Jacquelyn is currently a Program Manager in support of the Joint Improvised Explosives Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) where she currently works towards mitigating the impacts of improvised explosive devices through propagating lessons learned into Joint Military Publications and training war fighters on tactics, techniques and procedures in Asymmetric Warfare. Her personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Joint Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Navy Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and USMC Combat Action Ribbon.

Jim Cassidy
Jim Cassidy is a retired Chief Petty Officer of the United States Navy. After his retirement he lived for 3 years in Jacksonville, Florida and moved to San Diego in February 2003. While living here in San Diego, Jim has been President of the local Dignity Chapter and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Military Partner Association and is the Co Chair of the Joint City/County HIV Housing Committee. Jim joined the Wall of Honor Committee in 2013. He is currently the Director of Programs at Being Alive San Diego.

Lori Hensic
Dr. Lori Hensic is a military spouse, married to Captain Shaina Turley, USMC MV-22 pilot. Shortly after the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT), Lori relocated from San Francisco to be with her wife, stationed in San Diego. Since then she has been heavily involved in the LGBT military community on local, state and national levels, and was recently named 2014 Camp Pendleton Military Spouse of the Year. Hensic is currently the Director of Research & Policy for The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) and the organization's former Director of Educational Affairs - both in a volunteer capacity. She is dedicated to critical educational efforts aimed at strengthening LGBT military families’ representation and engagement in policy changes. Her research yields vital information and statistics about our LGBT military families to support and drive positive change for the LGBT military community. Lori has appeared in media interviews on local and national broadcasts, and has been invited to speak at several conferences on behalf of our LGBT military families. Her educational outreach campaigns and collaborations with other national advocacy organizations help inform LGBT military families, elected officials, and the general public about disparities in our families’ access to services and benefits – as well as how to assist with means to change them. In addition to her volunteer service with AMPA, Lori is also a member of the the San Diego Pride Military Contingent Committee.

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 Navy contractor at COMNAVAIRPAC, North Island and was the first female to serve on aircraft carriers. Due to her independent project work supporting Desert Storm she was handpicked to help launch SALTS, a ship-to-shore logistics data-transfer system, and supported all USN ships and stations west of the Mississippi. She later installed a version of 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, and stands at the helm of both San Diego Downtown News and Gay San Diego, while also supporting four other local community newspapers.

Linda Sanders
Linda Sanders began her career with the Department of Defense (DOD) at the tender age of 17 as a “Classified Courier” for The Pentagon. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and 23 years later, she was a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) representative for the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon being “outted and witch hunted” for being a lesbian, her career ended with the DOD. She is the mother of a disabled Veteran and the spouse of a Combat Woman Veteran. At 66 years old, Linda founded Mothers fOr Military Accountability (MOMA), as a family advocacy group to support Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivors.

Evelyn Thomas
Evelyn Lynn Thomas is an honorable combat veteran of The Army National Guard and The U.S. Marine Corps and is a survivor of Military Sexual Trauma and Violence. Through her work, she advocates for the end of military sexual violence. After her tour of duty she attended college and obtained an Associate Degree in General Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Social Science Teaching Credential, and a Master of Arts in Education with a focus towards Teaching, Learning, and Leadership. She was a Secondary Educator with the Guajome Park Academy and Oceanside Unified School District. In 2009, she established The Sanctuary Project Veterans, as an activist outreach ministry to advocate for service members, veterans, and families impacted by Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). She is an elected member of The San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee. She is an elected representative for the 76th Assembly District. From 2011-2012, she was a member of The United Veterans Council of San Diego Executive Board. She also served as an Executive Board member of Veterans for Truth. Currently, she is the Chair on LGBT Veterans Issues for the California Democratic Party Veterans Caucus. In 2014, she founded The San Diego County LGBT Veterans Needs Assessment Collaborative. She is a member of the California Department of Veterans Affairs Working Group that organized the 1st CALVET LGBT Veteran Leadership Forum.