Valerie Burnham: All About Valerie
“Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Valerie Burnham’s eyes have barely blinked in 90 minutes. She’s engrossed in her favorite movie: All About Eve, starring the incomparable Bette Davis. It’s a film filled with Broadway performers scheming against each other, conspiring to gain advantage, and even resorting to blackmail.
It’s an ironic “favorite” for Valerie, considering it depicts behavior totally opposite of her own genuine character.
“I believe in spreading the wealth,” she says. “If I could change one thing in the world, I would eliminate poverty. We all need to support each other.”
Those are deep thoughts befitting someone who describes herself as “a gregarious, engaged, and tenacious leader.” She’s certainly been all of those things throughout her entire career. She served 24 years active duty in the US Navy, holding such responsibilities as production officer, training supervisor, project manager, and director of equal opportunity.
After retiring in May 2008, she served as center director for the USO in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
“It was a labor of love. We provided services to a thousand soldiers a day – everything from outreach programs, to celebrity entertainment, to sporting events.”
Valerie currently serves as alumni manager for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). She manages WWP Alumni and outreach efforts in the Tampa area, in addition to developing and coordinating local and regionally based Alumni events.
It’s a job she says she feels “extremely lucky” to have.
“Every day I get to see the good in people, in warriors, and in the country,” says Valerie. “Because of that goodness, I am on an emotional high most days. I really love the interaction, meeting the families, and seeing the warrior transition from despair to getting used to their ‘new normal.’ We really have some great warriors here in Florida.”
It’s that kind of attitude that makes Valerie incomparable in her own right.