Honoree: Christopher Gilbertson
Honored by: Veterans Legal Institute
Cause Area: Veterans
Christopher Gilberston volunteers full time at Veterans Legal Institute as its Staff Librarian. Christopher provides a multitude of services at Veterans Legal Institute and never shies away from any task. Most recently, Christopher wrote an editorial for the OC Register about the state of homeless veterans in our County. Christopher’s aim is to bring awareness to the dire situation and encourage like minded individuals to take action. Further, Christopher regularly meets with potential clients and interviews them. Christopher was born into a family with a military history dating back to the colonial wars. Both his parents were veterans and he was born at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu. He enlisted in the United States Navy three weeks before his 18th birthday, doing basic training in NTC San Diego and Quartermaster A School in Orlando, Florida. He served 8 years at sea aboard USS Tarawa (LHA-1), Assault Craft Unit One, and USS Curts (FFG-38) homeported out of San Diego and Long Beach, California. In those eight years he was part of the navigational team that made three deployments to the Western Pacific, one deployment to the Indian Ocean, and one deployment to the Arctic Circle in support of US Marine winter training operations in the Aleutians. During his deployment in the Indian Ocean, he actively participated in the mapping of the ocean floor which enhanced the United States submarine service’s knowledge of a previously uncharted body of water. From his time in the military, Christopher is the recipient of the Navy Expeditionary Medal (Iran), the Navy Good Conduct Medal (2), the Battle Efficiency Ribbon, and three Sea Service Ribbons. At the end of his second enlistment he chose an honorable discharge to pursue a college degree, funded through the GI Bill. He received a Bachelors of Arts degree in political science from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in August 1991. During his university career he worked for 5 years at the University library and was active in student government and Greek life. He embarked thereon a 25 year career working in legal, corporate, and academic libraries throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties, sometimes working in a department but often working as a solo librarian. Upon the termination of his personal career, he conducted some personal research and travel throughout California prior to coming on full time as a volunteer Staff Librarian at the Veterans Legal Institute where he immediately re-immersed himself in legal research and work in the think tank aspect of the Institute. Christopher comes in each day with a bright attitude and is well loved by the staff and clients alike. His extensive knowledge of the law and military make him the perfect fit for VLI. He connects clients to resources and aids attorneys in deciding which cases to take. Most importantly, he feeds the Think Tank with data that is then pushed out to the general public through media and the VLI blog.