LANSING – Iraq veterans Ingrid Tighe and Nick Cook will take a break from their jobs at the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to ‘Storm the Hill’ with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American (IAVA) later this month in Washington, DC.

Tighe and Cook were selected from a pool of thousands of applicants to take part in Storm the Hill, IAVA’s premiere advocacy and leadership development program. They will join with fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from across the country in Washington, where they will meet with lawmakers to tell their stories and urge them to pass targeted legislation. Storm the Hill is also a training resource designed to empower member veterans to become leaders, organizers and spokespeople for the New Greatest Generation.

“This is a great opportunity, and I’m proud of Nick and Ingrid for taking the initiative to be part of the ‘Storm the Hill’ program,” said MVAA Director Jeff Barnes. “Their stories, combined with those of the other participants, will help members of Congress better understand the needs of today’s veterans.”

Tighe served as a U.S. Army Signal Corps officer from 1998 to 2005 with the 1st Infantry Division in Macedonia and Kosovo and later with the 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad, Iraq. After honorably separating from the Army as a Captain, she used the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill to earn her M.P.A from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. She now helps forge connections between veterans and employers as an employment analyst for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

“I am honored to be part of this program and look forward to the opportunity to work with IAVA in Storming the Hill,” Tighe said. “As both a veteran and someone who works on behalf of veterans, I know firsthand the challenges of transitioning back to civilian life and the importance of programs like the GI Bill to help veterans in that transition.”

Cook, MVAA’s Director of Targeted Outreach and Performance Management, works with veterans’ service organizations and community groups to ensure Michigan veterans have predictable and quality access to the benefits and resources they have earned. Commissioned as an Armor officer from the United States Military Academy in 2001, he served 12 years on active duty in the U.S. Army, including tours in Iraq. He earned a Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Valorous Unit Award, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

“This is an exciting opportunity, and I’m proud to represent my fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and Michigan veterans in Washington,” Cook said. “We are working hard at the state level to ensure Michigan veterans get the benefits they have earned, and we can only do that if Congress continues to support these important federal benefits.”

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency mission is to serve as the central coordinating point, connecting those who have served in the United States Armed Services and their families, to services and benefits throughout the state of Michigan. The agency values inclusion, integrity, transparency, innovation and respect and aspires to provide the customer service experience that veterans deserve. To learn more, visit

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