2019 Tillman Scholar

Bridget Gehrz

Military Spouse
University of Minnesota

“By taking a whole-person approach to healing, I believe that trauma and suicide survivors can thrive again.”

Growing up in a rural area, Bridget learned the value of hard work and community. Working as an intensive care and emergency room nurse, these values have been important throughout her career. When she married Michael, an active duty Navy Corpsmen, she learned the importance of the military community.

After Michael was honorably discharged in 2008, they returned to their home state and soon felt lost without this community, as Michael learned to live again with PTSD. They found strength in each other as they learned to live a more balanced and structured life while acknowledging the impact of PTSD on their lives. They were able to find support through various community programs and fellow veterans.

When Michael unexpectedly took his own life,  Bridget once again faced a new life challenge: parenting three children alone while learning how to live with the effects of trauma and loss as a family. Through hard work, the strength of her community, and the holistic beliefs of the nursing profession, Bridget is able to see the beauty in life despite her loss.

As a nurse leader, with a focus on Integrative Health and Healing, she hopes to help other PTSD and suicide survivors learn to live with their trauma and loss and still maintain an active, healthy life. Trauma and loss change the way we view the world. Taking a whole-person approach to healing that balances a healthy lifestyle and professional services, Bridget believes that survivors can thrive again.