Commander Dora Vasquez-Hellner is a life member of the Amancio-Falcone-Gaccione VFW Post 8955 and was instrumental with the re-charter of VFW Post 10, Raeford North Carolina, August 1998.
Dora is a retired Army First Sergeant who served for over 23 years. She served in the Army from 1977 to 2000. While assigned to B Company, 29th Military Intelligence Battalion, she earned her VFW eligibility by serving in Panama during Operation Just Cause. She was the NCOIC of screening operations that handled over 2,000 Panamanian Defense Force soldiers. Her last unit of assignment was First Sergeant, Military Intelligence Company, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Her military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Airborne Wings. She is a graduate of Excelsior College with a degree in Liberal Arts. She also holds a Master of Arts in Hispanic Studies from the University of Rhode Island.
She is a graduate of SERE - Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, Cross Cultural Communications Course, British Interrogation Course, Strategic Debriefer, Individual Terrorism Awareness Course and the U.S. Army Airborne Course.
Dora is a member of the 164th Infantry Association as her father served with the 164th/Americal Division during WWII in the Pacific Theater. In addition, she supports Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services at Horses Healing Humans – Therapeutic Horsemanship in Coastal Connecticut. Dora is a regular contributor to The Westerly Sun on Veterans Affairs. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Westerly RI.
November 2019 she was the keynote speaker for Salute to Veterans Waterfire 2019. Her presentation highlighted her military career and concentrated on the doors that were opened by the fearless women who went before her. With each iteration of women in the military more doors of opportunity are opened.
December 2019 Dora was appointed as Co-Chair Salute to Veterans Waterfire 2020. The theme for this event is "Wellbeing.” She was selected for this position due to her ongoing mission with elimination of "22 a day.”
Vasquez-Hellner was instrumental with coordinating the first Rhode Island Rally for Women Warriors at the Providence VA Medical Center. The objective of the event was to foster interaction and communications among the female veteran population of our great state.
A day does not pass with this veteran reaching out to her fellow veterans, regardless of age or need. She maintains regular communications with key legislative representatives both at the local and national level to advocate for our veterans.
Dora is married to William D. Hellner, also an Army veteran and reside in Ashaway RI. They have one son, Mathias Hellner.