“It takes such determination and bravery to walk onto the battlefield for fellow humans. And it takes no less to accept appreciation and assistance when the burdens of war have become too heavy.”

Originally from the Houston area with roots now in East Texas, Melissa joined the Boot Campaign in 2011 and is the organization’s Vice President of Finance advising on strategic planning efforts and overseeing all day-to-day financials.

The granddaughter of a World War II veteran and a Korean War veteran who suffered from PTSD for most of his civilian life, Melissa grew up hearing difficult, emotional stories about the impact of serving in the military – and had tremendous respect and sympathy for their experiences.

Through this history and exposure to the Boot Campaign via friend and now-colleague Myra Brandenburg, Melissa – who had been a corporate bank loan officer for Southside Bank – saw an opportunity to marry her expertise in finance and passion for non-profits and to honor military veterans in the Boot Campaign.

And after hearing the Founding Boot Girls, veterans and other organization staff speak at several public events, she says a “spark within her became a burning fire to join the Boot Campaign team, alongside those who were leading the charge, to improve the lives of veterans and their families.”