Kimberly Mitchell, president & CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) and a former Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy, is this year’s keynote speaker for the Milwaukee Armed Forces Week Banquet.
Mitchell will speak at the sold-out event on Monday, May 13 at the Wisconsin Club in downtown Milwaukee. The event will also honor recipients of the Gary Wetzel Award and the Citizen Support for Our Armed Services Award. Mitchell will also speak at the Milwaukee Rotary Club Luncheon at noon on Tuesday, May 14.
Mitchell, who spent part of her youth growing up in northern Wisconsin, is a vocal advocate for service members, veterans, military families and families of the fallen. As the first non-Vietnam Veteran CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD), she leads her team in serving more than 3,000 veterans annually by providing programs for homeless vets. Those services include residential treatment programs, mental health, substance use disorder treatment, case management, therapy, job training, job placement, and housing navigation services. Over the past nine years, Mitchell has created a nationwide network of support utilizing grassroots solutions to address the challenges of transition and reintegration for our service members, veterans and military families.
Mitchell has a compelling story to share. As an infant, she was discovered in the arms of her deceased mother on the side of the road in South Vietnam. A man who found her then passed her on to a South Vietnamese Marine hoping he could save her life. That South Vietnamese Marine took her Sacred Heart Orphanage in DaNang. In 1972, Mitchell was adopted by Air Force Technical Sergeant James Mitchell serving in DaNang. After a few more years in the service, Kim and her family moved to Solon Springs, Wisconsin. She is recognized for her devotion to Vietnam Veterans and Vietnam era veterans.
Mitchell served in the United States Navy for 17 years as a Surface Warfare Officer on board surface ships and at shore commands. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the United States Naval Academy in Ocean Engineering and a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from The George Washington University.
In addition to Mitchell's visit, service member and citizen award recognitions, a motorcycle ride for troops and a public military display are among the events planned throughout the city for Milwaukee Armed Forces Week, May 13-18. This year’s theme is “Forward with Truth and Honor,” says Capt. Thomas Platenberg, president of the Milwaukee Armed Services Committee (MASC).