Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Brenda J Serena was born in Batavia, NY and raised in Attica, NY. She earned her Associate Degree in Nursing at Kilgore College, Kilgore, Texas in 1986 and graduated Magna Cum Lade in 1996 from Daemen College, Amherst, NY with Bachelors of Science in Nursing and a minor in History.
Brenda enlisted in the US Army in 1975 as a UH-1 helicopter repairman and was stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska. After leaving the Army for family matters, she re-entered the Army as a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in 1987. She successfully completed officer basic, office advance, operating room nurse course, head nurse course and Command Staff and General school.
Her military awards include: Army Commendation Medal x 4, Army Achievement Medal x 3, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Overseas Service Ribbon x 2 and Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device. In addition, she earned the Aircraft Crewman badge
She qualified for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) with her first deployment to Tirkit, Iraq in 2007 with the 325th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) as an intensive care (ICU) nurse. During the deployment she was transferred to the US Air Force Level 1Trauma Hospital in Balad, Iraq as an ICU Charge nurse. Brenda deployed again in 2013 with the 48th CSH as the Executive Officer (XO) to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
In 2009, Brenda joined the Newstead Memorial VFW Post 2130 in Akron, NY and in the following year was elected Commander, earning All-State Commander. She remained Commander until her 2013 deployment. After returning, she was Post Chaplin, Service Officer and Youth Chairman. In 2018, transferred to Alden Memorial VFW Post 7967 and elected Commander earning again, All-State Commander.
In 2012, she was elected Jr Vice Commander of the Erie County Council (ECC). She held the position until her deployment and upon returning, elected ECC Commander. At the County Council level, she has held the positions of Trustee, Inspector, Voice of Democracy (VOD), Patriot’s Pen (PP), and Smart Maher Teacher Award Chairman. During this time period, she was also selected National Aide to Camp for three (3) consecutive years.
In 2015, Brenda was appointed District 6 Membership Chairman and moved through the elected chairs of Trustee, Jr Vice, Sr Vice and District Commander. As District 6 Commander, all three of the District’s County Councils earned 100% membership as well as the District. She has also held the appointments of District Inspector, VOD, PP and Smart Maher Teacher Award Chairman.
At the Department of New York level, Brenda has been appointed Chairman of Safety by Commander Marlene Roll, Patriotic Instructor of Commander Dennis Sullivan, Chairman of Community Service and Smart Maher Teacher Award by Commander Michael Burke. In addition, she was awarded for her assistance and support to fellow veterans and Community Service. In 2019, she was elected Department Surgeon.
At the National level, she was appointed as a representative of the Department of New York for committees such as bylaws, resolutions, and Women Veterans. In 2018, she was given a National appointment to the Bylaw committee.
She is a life member of the VFW Auxiliary and a current member of the American Legion. In addition, she is a member of Toastmasters International and an officer of the Speak Up Toastmaster Executive committee in Batavia, NY.
Brenda presently resides in Akron, NY with her husband, Bruce of 28 years, also a VFW life member. They have four adult children and five grandchildren.