Today, as always, there's no shortage of important veteran issues. In fact, if the veteran community is coming up short anywhere, it's in the number of properly trained advocates working to address everything from burn pit fallout to VA child care and beyond.
These are important battles, and High Ground Veterans Advocacy (HGVA) is preparing to add four more advocates to the fight through their fellowship program. And one thing that sets their program apart from most others, is that it's open to everyone from Medal of Honor recipients to those who received a "bad paper" discharge.
"What we are essentially doing is looking for the poster boy, or the poster girl, of whatever issue it is that any individual cares about," says Kris Goldsmith, the founder of HGVA. "We're an organization that doesn't discriminate against any kind of veteran. If you served in the United States military, you are welcome to apply."
The fellowship includes both remote online training as well as on-site boots on the ground experience in Washington D.C. with a week-long schedule that includes meeting members of Congress. Goldsmith says every aspect of the fellowship is aimed at building an advocacy arsenal for those selected. An arsenal that will grow from the policy paper, which focuses on the issue of your choosing, that every applicant must submit.
"From the moment you are selected, your training begins," Goldsmith says. "If we get a policy paper that's almost there, almost perfect, what we're gonna do is spend about three months making it as perfect as you can get it. We're going to teach you, over the internet, how to write an OpEd, how to get placed, how to talk to reporters, how to write a compelling press release. Really, how to tell your story in different ways."
The deadline for applying for the High Ground fellowship is March 1st. While only four applicants will be selected, Goldsmith says that shouldn't stop anyone from applying.
"It doesn't matter what part of the military, veterans and family life that you want to tackle or improve," he says. "If it helps our community, and you've got an idea to fix that problem? Send us an application. We'd love to hear from you."
You can hear the full interview with Kris Goldsmith as heard on CBS Eye on Veterans below.