Sentinel Stories


“I appreciate the opportunity SoF has afforded me to continue my education and focus on school for this last year! Thank you for the support and mentorship.”

— Katie Blanchard

Katie Blanchard

Captain, US Army
University of Washington, PhD in Nursing (Nurse Educator)

Katie joined the military because she felt it was her duty to serve. Her family members had all served in the military and she grew up knowing that she wanted to be just like her parents. She did not want to be a “regular” nurse, she wanted to join the Army and care for soldiers and veterans. While serving at Munson Army Health Center at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, Katie knew she had found her passion.   However, one day that was taken away when she was attacked by a civilian subordinate at work. He threw gasoline on her and set her on fire in a horrific case of workplace violence which nearly killed Katie and changed her life forever.

While lying in the ICU wrapped in bandages covering her 3rd degree burns, Katie decided this was not the end of her story. Once she was able to withstand being in a classroom, she began to pursue her master’s degree; however, the VA would not cover all of her medical expenses meaning she would have to work while going to school and take care of her three small children. Her husband, an Army helicopter pilot, deploys often and could not always be home to help.    

With the financial assistance from Sentinels of Freedom, Katie has been able to attend school full-time without having to work. She can also have home assistance to help take care of her house and children, which is not covered by the VA, when she is recovering from the over 100+ surgeries she has endured thus far. Katie has taken advantage of the networking opportunities provided by SOF, such as meeting with department heads at Johns Hopkins Hospital., Katie is attending the University of Washington to complete a PhD in Nursing as a Nurse Educator. She is currently working on her dissertation on workplace violence and has speaking engagements across the country sharing information and collaborating with other active advocates of workplace safety in the nursing field. Her ultimate goal is to build policy and advocacy around workplace violence prevention with an organization like the World Health Organization or U.S. Department of Health. 

Sentinels Across America

Across our great nation, our Sentinels are building new lives for themselves and their families.