The 2022 AFGE Veteran of the Year is Edward James of AFGE Local 252 and Department of Education.
Edward was nominated by his local president, Sheria Smith, and is a part of the 10th district.
He’s an Operation Iraqi Freedom war veteran who suffers from a traumatic brain injury which has caused him several cognitive delay challenges, but he openly discusses his disability to advocate for veterans with disabilities.
As a proud advocate for veterans, Edward volunteers at Disability Hiring Fairs and helps many fellow veterans apply for service-connected disability assistance and obtain service-connected compensation.
In 2019, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed him as a Commissioner on The Persons with Disabilities Commission in Washington DC. During his tenure, Edward worked to get closed captioning added to outdoor movie screenings for individuals with hearing impairments, drafted changes to improve housing policies for disabled constituents, and provided transportation to fellow veterans and their family members to medical appointments and to the polls on Election Day.
Local 252 has also benefited from Edward's mentorship because he always takes time to chat with and encourage rank-and-file members to take on more leadership roles within the local. Edward is serving in his second term as executive vice-president of AFGE Local 252.
In his recorded acceptance speech, Edward urged individuals with disabilities to tell their story.
“I want people to know that disabilities are seen and unseen. I suffer from a traumatic brain injury, but I don’t let that limit my ability to do what I can do. I think that there are stigmas that come with disabilities, and sometimes those stigmas keep us from being able to achieve and to excel. And in this life, you have to be tenacious.”
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