These tips can help you get started advocating for legislation that impacts military surviving spouses.
Dr. Vivianne Cisneros Wersel was born and raised in a Marine Corps family. She has a long career in military medicine as an audiologist serving military, veterans, and their families and she has been a stalwart advocate for military families, testifying 20 times before Congress.
Dr. Wersel is the surviving spouse of LtCol Richard "Rich" Wersel, Jr. USMC, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and died on active duty at Camp Lejeune in 2005. She was instrumental in changing the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and Death Gratuity (SA 1376) policy so that all active duty surviving spouses are now eligible for enhanced benefits and was also involved in repealing the widows tax.
Dr. Wersel is the Legislative Committee Chair for the Western North Carolina MOAA Chapter and serves on the American Academy of Audiology Legislation committee. She is the public relations officer for Gold Star Wives of America Inc. and is the President/Founder of Arlington Gold Star Wives. Dr. Wersel is an adviser for Military Hearts Matter.
She holds a Doctorate of Audiology from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and is a recent retired staff audiologist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.