Lucky Spur Ranch
May 8-12, 2023
Application Period Now Closed
Caehlen Austin is 24 years old and currently lives in Fort Campbell, KY with her active-duty husband, young son and their two dogs. Her father, SSG Kevin Casey Roberts was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2008. She currently volunteers with an organization called Gold Star Gamers which helps gold star children with the ability to access ways to use video games to handle their grief. She has always enjoyed writing, mainly poetry or short stories. In her free time, you can find her reading, journaling or enjoying time with family and friends.
Cierra Becker is 23 years old and currently lives with her mom and little sister near Houston, TX. She is a full-time Firefighter/EMT for Cy-Fair Fire Department. She has been in the first responder field for almost 3 years now and loves it. Her hobbies include geocaching, working out, quad skating, and concept art creation.
Camille Clark is a sophomore at SUNY Brockport studying art with a concentration in graphic design. She is also double majoring in media production and kinesiology. Her future goals are to become an art professor, or possibly to work in advertising. She currently works for her mom on their family’s flower farm in Bloomfield, NY. She is also the social media director for the Canandaigua farmers market pages. Her dad joined the Army when she was four years old, and passed in Afghanistan in 2012 when she was only nine years old. She hopes to inspire people with kindness and compassion as her dad once did.
Bailey Donahue is an Enrollments Administrator at Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation helping to provide college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty, and has shared her story across several outlets. She studied Public Health and earned her master’s at University of North Carolina – Wilmington. Daughter of MAJ Michael Donahue, U.S. Army, who was killed in action on September 16, 2014, Bailey describes her dad as “a hero loved deeply and widely with a passion for running and living life adventurously and intentionally.” With a great love for new experiences, she is inspired by traveling, meeting new people, and expression through content creation. Bailey is eager to expand on her written communication skills and connect with other members of the military community.
Boston Gilbert is the eldest son of Major Troy “Trojan” Gilbert. Trojan was killed in action near Taji, Iraq in November 2006 while providing close air support to a Delta Force unit. Boston is happily married to his wife, Eliana, and works for the military nonprofit, No Greater Sacrifice. He enjoys his role serving other children of fallen and severely wounded service members. Boston developed a passion for writing in college after he underwent two successive foot surgeries while playing collegiate soccer. For Boston, writing is a theater where he can express suffering, ask questions, test ideas, and explore curiosities. In his free time, he hangs out with his wife, practices jiu-jitsu, and relishes time with family and friends. Boston holds a B.S. in Applied Physiology and Sport Management from Southern Methodist University and a M.A. in Leadership from Dallas Baptist University.
Cassidy La Bouff is the daughter of U.S. Army Major Douglas A. La Bouff. Cassidy graduated from Colorado State University in 2021 with a degree in Journalism and Media Communication with a minor in Legal Studies. Cassidy is passionate about supporting our veterans, active-duty military, and their families. As a Gold Star Child, she best expresses this passion by supporting non-profits that work directly with Gold Star and surviving families and veteran mental health. Cassidy hopes she can keep inspiring others to be the best version of themselves through her continued work within the community.
Angel Munoz, is an Army veteran, who served during Peacetime in the late ’90s. She is currently living in Midland, Texas, where she was born and raised. A mother of three young men she raised with the help of her mother and brothers. She has a total of 11 siblings. Robert, Gilbert, and Jeremy Arsiaga are three of her siblings, who served alongside her in the military. Gilbert, who currently lives in Galveston, is a Marine Corps Iraq War veteran. Robert, served in the Army until he was killed in action in Sadr City, Iraq, in 2004. Jeremy, a Marine Corps Iraq war veteran, took his own life in 2015, after a battle with PTSD and depression. These losses compelled Angel to express her grief and love through writing. Angel’s dream is to share her family’s story of loss, love, sacrifice and resilience with the world in the hopes of inspiring others to reach out. Life gets better and love lasts forever.
Maria Rossi is the daughter of MG(P) John G. Rossi who died on June 18, 2016. She is now a military spouse married to SSG John Wiggers and they are stationed in Dahlonega, GA with their daughter Kylie and two dogs. She is pursuing a career as an esthetician with the hopes to have her own business one day. Maria has always had a passion for writing and since her father’s passing, she has been looking for an outlet to tell her story. She wants to be an advocate in the fight against soldier suicide and she hopes that sharing her story will bring awareness to this cause as well as comfort to other survivors. What she finds most heroic about her father’s legacy was how much he cared for the well-being of his soldiers and their families. She wants to continue his legacy by getting involved with organizations that support veterans and their families.
Danielle Rushing grew up in Wyoming, having moved to the state after her father left the USMC. Growing up, she spent countless hours reading; reading during recess, at night when she was supposed to be sleeping, and even reading while walking down the halls of her schools over the years. A love of reading turned into a love of writing, and that writing took many forms. From obituaries for loved ones to short stories about nonsense, she writes when she can.
After the suicide of her younger brother Joshua in 2013, she began writing for a different reason. Writing was a form of therapy, a way for her to cope with the sudden and traumatic loss of her brother. Being a Gold Star sister forced her to start thinking about life and loss differently than before, and writing has helped her in that process.
Danielle is married, a ‘dog mom’, enjoys playing the Sims, watching documentaries, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
Cheyenne Smith’s father passed away in December of 2013 during a tour in Afghanistan. She was fourteen and in her freshmen year of high school at the time, but these days she is an aspiring writer and recent survivor of the harrowing experience that is getting a master’s degree; which she happily received from The University of Glasgow in Scotland. She lives just outside of Houston, Texas. She lives to travel and really loves trying new things, especially new food!
Chloe Wright lives and teaches in private elementary education in Longview, Texas. She studied music education at East Texas Baptist University. Her counseling practice will be with military families and service members upon graduating with a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from ETBU. Her passion is connecting to resources amid deployment, retirement, grief, and trauma. She would like to use music and art therapies. Her interests and hobbies are reading, writing, music, American history, museums, and mentoring kids and youth who lost a sibling or parent in military service. Ms. Wright is a peer mentor with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and serves as a young adult mentor with A Soldier’s Child Foundation. Chloe’s father, a five combat-tour veteran to the Middle East, passed during her sophomore year of college. She felt proud of continuing school without taking any semesters off and beating the odds against it. She did the leg work of discovering scholarships to meet semester bills. Chloe wants to bridge the gap for families and service members enduring disenfranchised grief in honor of her father and mother.
Eligible applicants will be between the ages of 18 and 35 at the time of the event, May 8th through the 12th, 2023.
The seminar is designed to help Gold Star Children and Siblings share their stories of resilience and sacrifice. Eligible applicants will have lost a parent, legal guardian, or sibling serving on active duty after Sept. 11, 2001. The children and siblings of service members who died in combat, by suicide, from illness, and during training accidents are encouraged to apply.
At this time, we are able to support travel for applicants originating from a CONUS location. If you are an otherwise qualified candidate, please reach out at email@example.com to see if special dispensation can be arranged for OCONUS travel.
Applications will be accepted up until 11:59 PM EST on March 15, 2023. Applications submitted after this deadline will not be considered.
Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 4PM EST (Virtual Session 1)
Thursday, April 27, 2023 at 4PM EST (Virtual Session 2)
Optional Office Hours: May 1-5, 2023 as scheduled by fellows
Monday, May 8, 2023 – Friday, May 12, 2023
Selected fellows will be asked to work in advance, with guidance in the virtual sessions, to develop a rough draft of the story they’d like to tell. The goal will be for each fellow to leave the in-person seminar session with a piece they are proud to publish.
The War Horse is proud to continue the tradition of bringing award-winning journalists, world-class editors, and industry professionals together to help mentor the next generation of military writers. While in session at the in-person seminar event, fellows will have access to instruction, mentorship, and support from these generous individuals intent on sharing their time and talent with our cohort. We will continue to update this list over the coming weeks.
David Chrisinger is the director of writing seminars at The War Horse. To date, he has led five cohorts of veterans and military spouses to share their stories of service and resilience. He is also the executive director of the Harris Writing Workshop at the University of Chicago. Before joining Harris, David worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office as a senior communications specialist. He is an award-winning author of many books, including The Soldier’s Truth, a forthcoming definitive biography of Ernie Pyle, America’s most famed combat correspondent. David is a graduate of the University of Chicago’s MA Program in the Social Sciences and the recipient of the 2022 George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language.
David Finkel is a journalist and author who writes about the human effects of war and whose honors include a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. His book, The Good Soldiers, a bestselling account of a U.S. infantry battalion during the Iraq War “surge,” received multiple awards and was named by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of 2009. A sequel, Thank You For Your Service, chronicled the challenges faced by American soldiers and their families in war’s aftermath and was the basis for a feature-length movie produced by DreamWorks Pictures and released by Universal Pictures in 2017. A graduate of the University of Florida, Finkel has been a reporter and editor for the Washington Post since 1990.
Nina Rodríguez-Marty joined Sentinel, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in 2019. She is most drawn to prescriptive and idea-driven nonfiction that speaks at the crossroads of work and life, in categories like business, self-help, behavioral science, entrepreneurship, and peak performance. She’s also fascinated by writers who can turn mainstream convention on its head with well-earned arguments or moving narratives. Among her authors are host of the Rationally Speaking podcast Julia Galef, leading sales expert Matthew Dixon, Silicon Valley user researcher Ximena Vengoechea, activist Elizabeth McLaughlin, former U.S. Air Force officer D.J. Vanas, and New York University professor Tessa West.
Chandler Wickers joined Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency in 2021 after an early career working in tech. She graduated from Washington and Lee University, where she played Division III soccer and earned a degree in English and Film, then going on to complete the Columbia University Publishing Course. She is interested in representing adult fiction and non-fiction. In fiction, she is drawn to voice-driven literary fiction with a strong sense of place, and novels featuring coming of age stories, family sagas, and dark humor. In non-fiction, she is interested in journalism that flows like a good novel, comprehensive histories, war reporting, and adventure stories. As a San Francisco native and Brooklyn transplant, she is keen on stories that intersect tech and pop culture, and narratives that demystify a subculture or reveal an underbelly. When she’s not reading, you can find her outside keeping pace with her running club, or in a theater mixing popcorn with peanut m&ms.
Pamela Wall, Ph.D., PMHNP is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Science in Nursing, Rush University with a Post Master’s Certificate as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, and from the University of Pennsylvania with a PhD.
Dr. Wall is a 20-year veteran of the United States Navy Nurse corps where she served in multiple different nursing roles to include inpatient and outpatient units and deployed and humanitarian missions. She was the first female nurse to be appointed as the Division Psychiatrist at 2nd Marine Division and worked as an advisor for mental health to the Commanding General of 2nd Marine Division and to the Chief Nursing Officer and Surgeon General of the Navy.
Kelly McHugh-Stewart is a writer, editor, and digital engagement specialist based out of New York City. Her reporting and personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, CNN Opinion, and Sports Illustrated, among others. She’s also shared her story on national television with CNN, ABC News, and ESPN.
Along with her writing and speaking, she is actively involved with numerous Veteran Service Organizations and has worked alongside leadership at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, Children of Fallen Patriots, Freedom Alliance, and VoteVets.
Kelly received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from Kansas State University. She currently works as a Senior Writer and Strategist at New York University.
Sadia is an officer in the Air Force Reserve, an early childhood special educator, and an aspiring special education advocate. A first-generation American, she takes pride in her South Asian heritage and the sacrifices her parents made to start a life in the United States. She is a fierce proponent of inclusion for service members and individuals with disabilities.
Sadia has been published in The Lily by the Washington Post and The War Horse. She earned a master’s of military operational art and science and a master’s in special education from George Mason University. Sadia is a 2020 Tillman Scholar, a 2022 War Horse Fellow, a proud mother, and a Coast Guard spouse.