Tristan Weis - Fellow

Aug 19, 2011 Issues: Veterans
Tristan Weis
Tristan Weis - Fellow

Two years out of high school, Tristan Weis was directionless and uninspired. Then the 9/11 attacks happened. “Now is a good time to step up,” Weis remembers thinking.

So Weis enlisted in the Army and became a medic. It didn’t seem like much of a stretch. He was interested in healthcare, and his family was full of current and former soldiers and Marines.

Weis was there for the invasion of Baghdad in 2003, and spent a tour of duty with a battalion responsible for hauling away confiscated munitions. Weis and his colleagues were regularly the target of insurgents’ small arms fire. “It was kind of hectic,” he says.

Returning home wasn’t without difficulties either. Weis had a hot temper and was often jumpy. His 2-year-old marriage suffered and then ended in divorce. “The adjustment back was weird.” In order to deal with his issues, including knee and hand injuries, Weis decided to leave the Army in 2006. He went to college to study respiratory therapy.

Weis’s desire to help others led him to an Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services job where he helped veterans find employment and college tuition support, among other things. “It was awesome, sitting down and interacting with vets.”

As a Wounded Warrior Program fellow in the district office of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Weis is doing what he feels like he was meant to do. “It’s kind of the same thing I wanted to do in the healthcare field – giving back.”

Weis’s job at Boehner’s office has ranged from handing a request for a veteran’s discount at a home improvement store to helping an elderly veteran threatened by eviction from a nursing home. He has made a point of making contacts within the veterans community.

Along the way, Weis has immersed himself in the world of politics, studying for a political science degree and observing his colleagues carefully. “Seeing government working in action is something unreal, indescribable, it just has to be experienced and that is exactly what I am getting to do.”