On behalf of the people of Washington, and specifically the more than 520,000 veterans who call Washington home, the state Senate today honored retiring Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Director Lourdes E. “Alfie” Alvarado-Ramos.
Sen. Keith Wagoner is prime sponsor of Senate Resolution 8607, which thanks Alvarado-Ramos for her 33 years of dedicated service to Washington’s military veterans. She is retiring at the end of January.
“We got you, Alfie,” said Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley. “After 22 years of service in the U.S. Army, reaching the rare rank of E-9, the Command Sergeant Major could have been forgiven if she stopped there. She’d given enough to this country. But I don’t think Alfie has ‘stop’ in her DNA, and she went on to serve this state for another three decades.”
While speaking in support of his resolution, Wagoner pointed out the energy, persistence, and dedication of the departing agency leader.
“When I think of Alfie, I think of a firecracker,” Wagoner, a retired U.S. Navy officer, told his colleagues. “She’s a lot of energy in a small package, and bang, she gets your attention. But she never got that attention for herself. I never remember her coming to me talking about herself or her accomplishments. It’s always been about veterans and our responsibility, as legislators, to support their needs in a responsible way. I have always admired that about Alfie.
“She’s at every important event there is for our veterans – monuments, ribbon cuttings, hearings,” said Wagoner. “The veterans of Washington – no, all of us in this state – have gotten a lot of bang out of our firecracker Alfie.”
SR 8607 points out how, in her time as director, Alvarado-Ramos has worked tirelessly to help servicemembers struggling with mental-health concerns, and to promote suicide prevention. In 2014, she spearheaded the Washington Goes to the Dogs Summit to connect veterans and providers to healing and service opportunities. She also established the position of Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinator within WDVA, in partnership with the TBI Council, to educate the community, provide peer-to-peer mentorship and connect veterans with TBI to government-provided veterans’ and community resources.
Prior to joining WDVA, Alvarado-Ramos served 22 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as the Command Sergeant Major for the Madigan Army Medical Center and Troop Command, Joint Base Lewis McChord.