“I have seen the uplifting and positive impact that Gary and the Foundation have made on so many… His ability to make a difference is so empowering and encourages us to persevere when faced with adversity. Serving as an Ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation is the greatest honor for me.”
— Leslie Nicole Smith
Army Captain (ret.) Leslie Nicole Smith graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia and received her commission from the Army ROTC program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She was assigned to the Nuclear Biological Chemical Corps and attended the Army Defense Information School, which enabled her to serve as a Public Affairs Officer as well.
Leslie deployed to Bosnia in September 2001 with the 29th Infantry Division for Stabilization Force 10 during Operation Joint Forge. She developed a blood clot and returned stateside two weeks before the end of her deployment. Leslie was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for complications resulting from exposure to a chemical agent or toxin. Ultimately, Leslie lost her left leg and the majority of her vision.
Staying positive, Leslie forged ahead and now advocates for veterans. Most recently, she received a Secretarial Appointment to the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, participates with the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, and serves as the official Ambassador for Wreaths Across America.
Leslie is a certified peer mentor and a spokesperson for organizations including Canines for Veterans, the USO, the Fisher House Foundation, Fatigues to Fabulous, and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. Leslie has appeared on Days of Our Lives and Lifetime’s Project Runway All Stars to raise awareness for our nation’s women veterans.