Power player: Dr. Elizabeth Snyder
Dream job: She holds multiple degrees, including a doctorate from Harvard University, but came to Fort Bragg without any military experience to take her "dream job."
What does a doctorate in German cultural studies have to do with Fort Bragg? Even Elizabeth Snyder didn't see the connection. At first.
She left academia and her job as a professor at the University of North Carolina at Asheville to work as a pre-deployment trainer to special operations soldiers.
Green-suiters are easy to spot on Fort Bragg, but it's civilians like Snyder who often bring backgrounds in everything from accounting to veterinary science to the job of soldiering.
She spent a career studying conflict in Europe and Latin America and along the U.S.-Mexico border. Special operations soldiers travel in small teams overseas where they must work with indigenous forces to accomplish a goal.
Common ground discovered.
Now, Snyder is putting those skills to work as a volunteer board member for the Community Blueprint Network. The network pulls together agencies of all stripes to improve services for military families. Networks in Fayetteville and Norfolk, Va., were established through a grant from Give an Hour, but the two-year funding cycle ends this year.
Snyder is working to start a local chapter of Stop Soldier Suicide, but her particular passion is to help veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress heal through the arts. Her dream? A place where veterans and civilians could go to create art. She calls it a "whole-of-community center."
"We often say we support our soldiers. Let's put some muscle behind that."