Caring. Advocating. Motivating. Inspiring. Mentoring.

Those are just some of the words that describe Darcie Greuel.

“Those are all things that are near and dear to my heart. They are things I’m constantly trying to get better at and what I help others aspire to as well.”

Greuel is director of the Zablocki VA’s Post-9/11 Military2VA Case Management Program.

She is also a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and was honored by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (in the photo with this blog) and Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Mary Kolar as the Woman Veteran of the Year.

In presenting the award, Evers noted Gruel’s journey from 18-year-old enlistee in the Army to her current position, where she and her team at Zablocki help post-9/11 Veterans leaving the military make the transition to civilian life.

“Holy mackerel! What a life you’ve led!”

Along the way, Greuel has been an Army medic, serving humanitarian efforts in South America, and deploying to Afghanistan, where she ran a small combat support hospital.

At the Milwaukee VA, she worked as a nurse before taking over the M2VA program. In the community, Greuel volunteers her time to help seniors and the disabled. She assists Veterans on Honor Flights to Washington, D.C.

“Holy mackerel,” Evers said. “What a life you’ve been living. Just extraordinary.” Evers added that Greuel is “an amazing example of outstanding service” to the military, fellow Veterans and the community.

“I have no idea when she sleeps,” Evers said. “You can see that her service to the community, state and country are vast and valuable. Wisconsin is a better place because of people like her.”

Greuel was choked by tears in accepting the Woman Veteran of the Year award, acknowledging all those who support her.

“Biggest passions are service and trying to influence change.”

“It’s just such an absolute honor and pleasure to be recognized for the service and the work that I do,” Greul said. “Honestly, I never really think of it too much as being work. It’s just kind of who I am and what I do.

“Aside from being a mom, which is probably my most important accomplishment in life, I would say my biggest passions are service — caring for others, advocating for people who can’t advocate for themselves — and trying to influence change — positive changes. It’s so amazing to be able to help service members and guide them when they’re in times of need. I can understand and I can relate.”

Is Greuel ready to slow down? Don’t bet on it.

“I enjoy my work so much,” she said. “I’m feeling like I’m at the pinnacle of both of my worlds. I feel like I have a lot of life left in me and hope that I can still continue to advocate and motivate and inspire people to want to be a part of change.”

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