First women join ‘Wounded Warrior’ program for combat veterans

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Sandia National Laboratories welcomed the first women to join the company’s hiring program for veterans wounded in combat.

“I was wounded in October of 2011 in Afghanistan, was awarded a purple heart,” Lindsey Kibler said.

The Army veteran said it is called your “alive day,” the day you should have died but you came out alive.

“There was a mortar that was launched from one of the villages nearby and so it landed less than 10 feet in front of me,” Kibler said. “I got blown back from the impact of it hitting the ground.”

The blast in Afghanistan left Kibler with brain and spinal injuries, anxiety and debilitating migraines.

“I have to write everything down or I’ll forget it, and I have to stick to lists,” Kibler said. “I think that’s something I’ll always have to do.”

Kibler now works as an emergency public information coordinator at Sandia as one of the first women to join the labs’ Wounded Warrior Career Development Program, aimed at helping veterans wounded in combat transition into civilian life through job training and mentoring.

She said she joined a few months after Veteran Gabrielle Holcomb, the only other woman in it.

“I thought it was great. I hadn’t heard about anything like it,” Kibler said.

Kibler considers herself lucky, knowing the struggle others faced getting jobs.

“Went for my 10th interview today, hoping for a callback this time,” she said, describing what she has heard from some fellow veterans. “They’re moving in with their parents when they get out because they don’t have anywhere to go.”

Kibler applied at Sandia before she even knew about the program.

Now, she wants to spread the word so that others don’t have to just “get lucky,” like she said she did.

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