Army Veteran Desiree Emilio-Duverge sat in the VA Palo Alto campus canteen with a fellow Veteran who was telling her about his son and how he hoped to visit him soon. It was a very personal conversation. When the gentleman got up to leave, I asked him how long they’d known each other.

“We just met before you got here!” Desi, as she’s known to most, exclaimed.

Desi tends to make connections everywhere she goes. Priscilla Azcueta is Desi’s Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) case manager and joked, “If we leave her alone in the cafeteria for 10 minutes, she will have met everybody in there!”

Although she’s known for this friendly exuberance, the CWT alum has had a long journey.

Desi is in a wheelchair full-time and lives with chronic pain, the result of a severe respiratory illness she developed during her time in service in Germany.

“The wheelchair is the easy part,” she said. “The chronic pain is what never stops and it’s high grade.” Continue reading here…

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