Dr. Vivianne Wersel
President & Government Relations
Dr. Vivianne Cisneros Wersel, has been an advocate for military families since 1992, working as a Key Volunteer for the USMC and she is an active member of the Government Relations Committee of Gold Star Wives of America (GSW).
In 2005, while still on active duty, Vivianne’s husband, Lt. Colonel Richard Wersel, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, suddenly died just one week after his return from his second deployment, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I and II.
As member of the Government Relations Committee of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. (GSW), her mission is to help correct inequities in survivors’ benefits and to optimize services provided to survivors. Dr. Wersel leads the group’s efforts to raise the awareness of unique challenges faced by survivors, including issues such as the elimination of the SBP/DIC offset, increasing the DIC benefit, and increasing educational opportunities and improving health benefits for spouses and children of the fallen.
In addition she sits on the Advisory Board for Got Your Back Network. Dr. Wersel is the initiator and founder of Surviving Spouses Support Group II MEF, and serves on the DOD/ VA Survivors Forum. She was a local representative for the National Military Family Association (NMFA), and volunteered in multiple capacities with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
As a Clinical Audiologist, Dr. Wersel holds a Doctorate of Audiology from Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) School of Audiology-Salus University, and also holds a Masters and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communicative Disorders (Audiology), from San Diego State University, CA. She is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute (DLI), Monterey, CA, and holds a language certificate in Spanish. She is presently an audiologist at the DoD Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.
Dr. Wersel hails from Emerald Isle, North Carolina, and she comes from a third generation Marine Corps family. Dr. Wersel currently resides in Alexandria VA ,and is the proud mother of Richard and Katie Wersel, who are each attending college.
Vice President & Website Manager
Ursula is the surviving spouse of SFC Collin J Bowen. He met his wife, Ursula, at the University of Maryland Baltimore County when he was enrolled in a Spanish class she taught. SFC Bowen volunteered to go to Afghanistan in November 2006. On January 2nd 2008, only two weeks before coming back home, he was injured in an IED attack. He passed away on March 14th, 2008. They had one daughter, who was only 3 years old at the time of his death. His other two daughters from his previous marriage were 13 and 10 years old. Ursula is originally from Bogota, Colombia, but has lived in the US for almost two decades now. She is a Certified Project Management Professional and holds two Master degrees in communications. She is remarried to COL Timothy J. Palmer. She is currently working for Links to Freedom in Virginia. Links to Freedom uses adaptive golf as a rehabilitation tool for wounded warriors, disabled/ill veterans, their families and caregivers, as well as survivor spouses and their children. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Got Your Back Network, a non-profit organization also serving children of the fallen. Ursula as a military wife, mother, worker and immigrant thought she had confronted strong challenges throughout her life, until she was faced with the injuries and later death of her husband. Now, a few years later, she is happy to offer her knowledge, diverse background and first-hand experience of widowhood to Gold Star Wives, Arlington Chapter.
MAJ Lisa Doring (Ret.)
Lisa Doring is the proud wife of Capt Nathanael J. Doring, USMC. They met at a Marine Corps pilot party the very day that Nate arrived in San Diego for Cobra attack helicopter training at Camp Pendleton where Lisa was currently stationed as a Marine lieutenant.
Nate volunteered to extend his eight month deployment to Iraq to a year so that he could be with Lisa during her deployment to Iraq. He met Lisa at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq the moment that she landed 26 Feb 2006. On May 27th 2006, only three days before his 31st birthday, Nate died during a Functional Check Flight of the AH-1W Cobra helicopter he was piloting. Lisa stayed at the location until Nate was recovered then she escorted her husband and his fellow Marine back to the United States to Dover Air Force Base. Nate had a seven year old son, Alex, when he died.
Lisa Doring has been a Marine Corps officer since May of 1998 after graduating with Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Boston University. She is currently serving as a company commanding officer at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
Lisa has been an advocate for dual active duty widows and widowers since Nate has died in an attempt to raise awareness of the unique issues that affect the dual active duty surviving spouse and their families. She is proud to be a charter member of the Arlington chapter of Gold Star Wives.
Deborah May is the mother of three. Her hero is SSgt. Donald C. May, Jr., who was killed in action on March 25, 2003.
Deborah has a B.S. in Art from Illinois State University and studied abroad at the Lorenzo de’ Medici School in Florence, Italy. She teaches painting to children and adults. Deborah currently lives in Utah.
Contributors and past Members
Kristen Santos-Silva, Treasurer 2012-2017
Dr. Jill Lamorie, Chaplain 2012-2016
Dr. Tracey Lynn Perez-Koehlmoos, President 2015-2017
Renice Zimmerman, Vice President 2015-2016
Patty Slingerland-Stubenhofer, Secretary 2012-2014
Rosalie Horton, Secretary 2014-2018