Wounded Warrior fellow Eric Espinoza in his new office, Tuesday, at Executive West Office Plaza. (Noah Vernau Photo)
Congressman Steve Pearce, R-N.M., welcomed Eric Espinoza to his congressional staff Tuesday as a fellow under the Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program. The program, established in 2008, provides two-year fellowships within the House of Representatives, with a possibility for full-time employment at the conclusion of the fellowship.
Espinoza served in the U.S. Army for 10 years, including service in Iraq and Korea. A Sweetwater, Texas, native, Espinoza has been a military contractor for the past five years, working as an instructor at the McGregor Range Complex at Ft. Bliss. He will be called on to use his expertise in military and veterans’ issues to aid Pearce in policy formation and in serving active-duty and veteran constituents in New Mexico.
“It’s a great opportunity for me and a lot of other Wounded Warriors to be able to serve — though not in active-duty or reserve service anymore, but to still serve the community and the veterans,” Espinoza said.
As a field representative, Espinoza will attend events and meet with constituents in the eastern part of the district on Pearce’s behalf.
“I’m happy to welcome Eric Espinoza to our team,” Pearce wrote in an email Tuesday. “Eric has an impressive military background that will be a tremendous asset in our service to veterans and military personnel in New Mexico. I thank him for his service to our nation in the Army, and for his willingness to continue serving as a Congressional Fellow.”
Espinoza said he’s excited and up to the task. “I think one of the big things that we bring as veterans is the knowledge of dealing with the military, dealing with the veterans, the claims process and the entire process of handling issues with the [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs]. Because a lot of times we have dealt with them in the past or because we are currently dealing with them.
“So we develop a rapport with our fellow vets, we understand what they’re going through, with the process and procedures that it takes with the VA. We understand because we’re doing them ourselves.”