Matthew Hefti, OIF and OEF Veteran and Author of A Hard and Heavy Thing
David’s work is making big waves throughout the veterans community, and it’s doing so in the best way possible. The class he teaches at UWSP is a model that creates buzz all over the state, including inside the veterans organizations here at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Similarly, the veterans writing community–spanning across the country–has recognized the brilliant work David is doing for both the students in his class and for the education of greater America.
The voice he has given to his students through his class and publication work necessarily communalizes student veteran experiences both within the group and in the world at large, a necessary step in reintegration for the students personally, and other vets globally as his publications continues to educate others dealing with similar veteran populations.
That David is a civilian and not a veteran is critical to the success of the program. When learning to navigate the waters of civilian life again, it only makes sense to have a civilian at the helm, and David is the perfect kind of civilian for the job: committed, knowledgeable, humble, encouraging, bold, eager to listen, and sincere.
Chris Wolf, Peer Support Director, Growing Veterans
David’s storytelling camp had a profound effect on me in many ways that I’m sure will continue to unfold in the coming weeks and months. It was such an honor to share heart-opening, connection, and growth with an amazing group of people in such a beautiful natural setting. WOW. Just wow.
David did an AMAZING job of leading authentically, teaching clearly, and holding space lovingly for people’s vulnerable stories to come forward. I hope he can reflect on the incredible outpouring of stories and think, “We set the stage for people to feel so safe, and so accepted, and so loved, that they shared themselves that deeply!” His work and your genuine presence created an experience that changed many people’s lives and will have countless positive ripples effects in the world.
Ashley Adamovage, President of the Southeastern Council on Military Education
The Southeastern Council on Military Education (SECOME) hosted the 2016 SECOME Symposium where David Chrisinger provided the Keynote Address to kick off the conference. Mr. Chrisinger’s presentation was both motivational and pertinent to today’s professionals within institutions of higher learning that are dedicated to supporting the military-affiliated student. Often times, civilian faculty and staff struggle to connect with military-affiliated students. David’s presentation provided the simple, but powerful ideas to not only connect with this unique population, but to help military-affiliated students succeed through graduation. His presentation set the tone for our very successful professional development event and truly was invaluable.
Joseph Stanfill, OIF and OEF Veteran and Clinical Social Worker at Marion Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic-Behavioral Health
David Chrisinger has been invaluable in producing the Veterans’ PTSD Project’s (VPP) signature publication, Blue Nostalgia. His work with the VPP has included holding workshops for aspiring veteran writers, as well as assisting veterans in editing their essay’s to more clearly relate their experiences.
David’s work with veterans in the academic setting is challenging the existing standard of helping service members in their transition from the military to the civilian sectors, particularly in the realm of higher education. David’s unparalleled dedication to his students has resulted in many veterans countering the status quo and continuing with their education.
Civilians who have not worked with veterans for an extended period of time may have difficulty relating to the intricacies of military culture, and the challenges which emerge during the transition. David does not struggle with this. His unique insight into the transition process, and ability to provide a creative outlet for veterans is one of the best I have observed.
Vicki Bloom, Dean of Libraries at Indiana University South Bend
I highly recommend that any group working with veterans, particularly student veterans, contact David. I first heard David speak at a Midwest Student Veterans Conference about his veteran re-integration course at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. In addition to his genuine compassion for his students and desire to help them tell their stories, I was impressed with David’s own journey as a civilian and new teacher of this course to someone who really “gets it” and wants to share his knowledge with others. His edited collection of student essays, See Me for Who I Am, is truly remarkable as well. More than any other book of its kind, See Me for Who I Am showcases the diversity and breadth of experiences of veterans transitioning to college life. We were so pleased to select his book for our campus’ Veterans Book Club and have David join us to facilitate the discussion. It was our best book club ever! If you want to create more supportive environments for veterans on your campus or at your institution, David Chrisinger can help you succeed.
Brian Castner, OIF Veteran and Author of The Long Walk and All the Ways We Kill and Die
David has been a tremendous advocate for veterans, and embodies the goal of bridging the civilian-military divide. His class at UW-SP is only one example of his leadership, professionalism, and ability to help veterans speak for themselves. Can’t recommend him or his method more.
Jonathan Silk, OIF and OEF Veteran and Executive Director of Leadership Development at UNT Health Science Center
David is a person of incredible talent, an excellent communicator, and a strong writer. I worked with him in my role as the National Veterans Outreach Leader with Team, Red, White, and Blue. David selflessly volunteered his time to assist with a writing workshop for Veterans in which they wrote about their most challenging experiences while they served. While he is not a Veteran himself, his work with Veterans in his writing workshop has given him the insight to understand and help them make sense of their experiences. His authenticity allowed him to build trust and reach a shared understanding with the participants that enhanced the experience of everyone in the program.
Gary Zarda, English Instructor, Nicolet Area Technical College
As a professional development speaker for faculty and as a keynote speaker for a “Hire-up” presentation (a series dedicated to hiring/retaining quality employees for the modern workforce), David Chrisinger spoke twice at Nicolet College in 2016, the second invitation being the best proof of the success of the first. In the former presentation, David shared his own experiences as an instructor and lessons learned in best reaching this large segment of the student population whose service, properly considered, leads to successful and meaningful educational experiences. In the latter, David discussed ways employers can best utilize a veteran’s unique skillset as an asset to an organization but also ways to ensure the veteran’s own satisfaction as an employee acclimating to the civilian workforce. By way of an entertaining, authentic tone honed by first-hand experiences with students and friends of his own who have served, David’s narrative presentation style truly reaches his audiences as it imparts a strengths-based view of veterans as well as practical suggestions for navigating complex interactions with them. A listener leaves feeling empowered in working alongside people our society rightly seeks to honor by understanding.
David P. Ervin, OIF Veteran, President and Editor-in-Chief of Military Experience & the Arts, and Author of Leaving the Wire: An Infantryman’s Iraq
I’ve had the pleasure of calling David a colleague for nearly eighteen months. We were introduced by a mutual associate, and the professional relationship has grown since then. At first we traded research and thoughts on veterans’ issues and the history of Americans in war and their homecoming. Upon becoming Editor-in-Chief for Military Experience and the Arts, Inc., I recruited David to be the Managing Editor for Blue Nostalgia: A Journal of Post-Traumatic Growth. That decision was prompted by several aspects of David’s character and expertise. As a combat veteran, I’ve always been struck by David’s compassion for a population that is frequently misunderstood. He is fully dedicated to furthering his own understanding, our society’s, and, indeed, helps us veterans better understand ourselves. The first publication he oversaw during his tenure with our organization was a model of our mission: one-on-one mentorship in developing skills in the craft of writing about a subject that is deeply personal and often disturbing. His further involvement with MEA, like frequent contributions to our blog, teaching a workshop at our 2015 Symposium, and providing general support to the board has proven to be just as big a benefit to us and the veterans we serve as his first project. Mr. Chrisinger has proven himself to be a valuable asset to our organization and the many veterans we serve.
Mike Goranson, OIF Veteran and Team RWB Leader
As a Purple Heart veteran, I had the opportunity to work personally with David. It was extremely therapeutic to write my stories from Iraq. I can personally attest that his knowledge and background of the military is superb. When I brought David my writings he was extremely instrumental in transforming my stories into a piece that both civilians could learn from and also a piece that veterans could relate to. His guidance helped tremendously in understanding where civilians might not grasp what was happening in my story or what I was mentally going through. In order to truly impact veterans lives and address issues they have, there needs to be someone like David that can help us tell our stories that hold significance not only in the military world, but also the civilian world. As a combat veteran, it was refreshing to meet a civilian that was so passionate about making sure my story was told in a way that helps bridge the gap between civilians and veterans.