Married to: Daniel Kysela
SOY Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Years as Milspouse: 5
Areas of Focus:
Julia Kysela is tireless advocate for our military spouse community, active duty military members and especially veterans. In 2012 Julia and her husband organized the “I’ve Got Your Six 6k and Memorial Mile,” which is a 6k and 1 mile race which support a Pennsylvania charity called the VALOR Clinic Foundation. All the proceeds go towards supporting their mission of helping struggling veterans in crisis and homeless veterans. In three years, the race has grown from a single race to four different locations. She is also the Family Member Support Director for Steel City Vets, an organization that supports and guides post 9/11 veterans within the Greater Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania area. On top of that, she serves as the Events Co-Chair for the Bee Squad for Veterans’ Charities, an organization that plans events and donates the proceeds toward deserving veteran’s charities. She does all of this while holding down a full-time job as an Senior Account Analyst for Bank of New York Mellon. There she joined the board of VetNet: new organization within the company created as a resource for the professional development and advancement of veterans and members of the broader military family who work at BNY Mellon, or are actively transitioning from military life.
Julia’s role as a National Guard Spouse has presented her with a unique view of the challenges associated with veterans who are transitioning out of the military, something that will affect every single military spouse at some point. As her husband both serves and works a civilian job, she sees first hand the struggles that military members face when they are outside their military role—whether through their service in the National Guard, or service members preparing to exit the military.
In 2015, Julia plans to continue her work advocating for transitioning veterans and their families. Whether it is by helping veterans translate their service in meaningful terms in the civilian world in order to gain employment or providing valuable assistance and networking opportunities to returning veterans through physical activities like I’ve got your six 6K or planning social events to foster a community of support, Julia’s advocacy is just beginning. In addition, Julia hopes to provide a model of support to other National Guard spouses who might otherwise feel disconnected from the military community.
In her own words:
“In my charity work, I often see that the failure to adapt back to civilian life is often the cause of hardships for veterans and can plague them for the rest of their lives. With the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and the military drawing down the forces, many military families are finding themselves back on the civilian side. The military community and the veteran community are strong sources of support and I feel that bringing these two communities closer together will help transitioning families. Networking and sharing knowledge and experiences to enable others an easier transition is what we should be doing to support our military and veteran community.