Kathryn Gates-Skipper - USMC Veteran - Lake Wales, FL
I have personally known "Kat" for over seven years. She has been a tireless advocate for veteran's rights and welfare. She is a retired US Marine Corps veteran who served with distinction and received numerous awards including: USMC Reserve Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Overseas Service Medal and many other awards and Letters of Appreciation.
Kat was a pioneer during her service with the US Marine Corps. She was among the first to serve as a woman in combat training and also the first to stay aboard a warship overnight. She served with valor and chose to become the first woman to enlist in Combat Operations and helped train Kuwaiti Women Soldiers during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Simply put, Kat helped pave the way for other women to serve our nation through her outstanding example of leadership and dedication.
Kat has also been extremely active on behalf of other veterans. She volunteered for the Concerned Veterans for America and eventually became the Central Florida Concerned Veterans for America Central Florida Field Service Director. As a result of her leadership position Kat was able to participate at forums held in Washington DC which helped pave the way for passage of the VA Accountability Act of 2014.
While operating a small business from her Lake Wales home, Kat was also nominated this year to the Lake Wales Leadership Class. Kat continues to be a blessing to the veteran community by working hard to make sure American Legion Post 71 got up and running again. I am very proud of her hard work on that project!
- Upon leaving the Armed Services, Kat Skipper has given many formal speeches across Central Florida on behalf of Florida Veterans and their contributions to this Nations' military engagements. Kat also gave the dedication speech at the Desert Storm Memorial in Tampa, Florida.
- Kat served as a volunteer and eventually rose to Central Florida Director for Concerned Veterans of America. Kat played a part in helping pass the VA Accountability Act of 2014.
- ln 2018, Kat led a public relations effort for a World War II Veteran (Chet Lebron) whose home was damaged after the recent Hurricane. The end result was Chet received a new modular home and was able to live out the rest of his days in peace.
- This past year, Kat was nominated and is part of Lake Wales Florida Leadership Class #23. Recently, Kat was with the Leadership Class when they toured Tallahassee and visited their Elected Officials. At the Capitol, Kat made sure to share her input regarding Veteran issues.
- During 2019, Kat was instrumental in helping Senator Rick Scott's staff learn how to best assist Florida veterans from a casework viewpoint. This will no doubt lead to better customer service for the Florida Veteran community.
- Kat, as Communication Officer played a key role in helping the Lake Wales, Florida based American Legion Post 71 get up and off the ground and functioning again. Her leadership and organizational skills played a critical part in helping American Legion Post 71 to reach out and operate once again to assist Florida Veterans.
- In 2019, Kat Skipper was proud to join Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during the launch of the Governor's Forward March initiative. Kat was asked to serve on the transition team of the effort as it is rolled out throughout the State of Florida. This effort will assist Florida Veterans in navigating the multitude of resources available to them at the private sector, local, state and federal government level. Kat is often called upon by people in various offices throughout Florida due to her personal experience in dealing with Veterans affairs.
- Kat Skipper currently serves on the Orlando VA Medical Center's Management Assistance Council. Here Kat is able to always help provide to all concerned the viewpoint of Florida Veterans. Kat was also instrumental in helping launch Polk County Veteran's Court.