Ashley Ottmer

Roy Williams Foundation

Alternate

I was born on Sheppard AFB in Witchita Falls TX in 1987, while my dad was in tech school to
become a helicopter crew chief. I spent my entire childhood on Air Force bases in New Mexico, Florida,
Okinawa, Japan, Iceland, and Arizona. I graduated from high school in Arizona in 2005 and left for basic
training that same summer, July of 2005. I was awarded my first Achievement Medal during basic
training due to relief efforts I helped provide for hurricane Katrina victims. I went to tech school at
Sheppard AFB as well, but as an Ophthalmic Technician because my dad encouraged me to do
something that would translate on the civilian side of things. I served a majority of my nearly 8 years of
service at Holloman AFB in Alamogordo, NM. Shortly after arriving at my first duty station my dad
passed away unexpectedly. My military career undoubtedly saved my life because it did not allow me to
shut down, however, it also triggered the start of my PTSD diagnosis because the military is not the
place to deal with grief or honestly any mental health concern. I served 4 of my 8 years active duty
before crossing over to the reserves. During that time, I was afforded the opportunity to serve on a
deployment providing medical services to under-served communities in Ecuador where I received my
second Achievement Medal for the work we did there. I was also awarded SRA below the zone and
named the Ophthalmic Technician of the Year in 2007 for the entire Air Force. I crossed over to reserve
status in 2009 to be closer to family and still get to maintain my military career. I was assigned to both
Buckley AFB and Schriever AFB providing optometry services to ensure all members were deployment
ready.

 

In 2012, shortly after having my second child I was diagnosed with auto-immune issues that led
to my discharge. At this point, I had a bit of an identity crisis, which I think most veterans can relate to,
because once you’ve served nothing else quite measures up. I worked in Optometry as a civilian for a
while, became a stay-at-home mom for a bit, and then worked a bunch of random jobs to make ends
meet after leaving an abusive environment. That environment was the second phase of my PTSD
diagnosis and is what fueled my desire to pursue a career in mental health. I enrolled at Capella
University for a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2014 and graduated Summa Cum Laude in December

of 2016. I started my master’s program in clinical mental health immediately following that in January of
2017 and graduated with a 4.0 gpa in May of 2019. I worked in community mental health during my
practicum and internships and continued to work in community mental health until July of 2020. In
2020, the pandemic was impacting all aspects of life and the need for flexibility to balance all our ever-
changing schedules pushed me to start my private practice, Spruce Creek Counseling LLC, full time. I also
started an additional degree program in 2020 and received my bachelor’s in Nutrition this year (2021). I
am utilizing that degree to supplement my work with clients because our gut health and brain health are
closely linked.

 

I specialize in trauma work as a therapist and am a certified trauma-informed care
practitioner. I am trained in several of the most well-known trauma treatments to include EMDR,
Brainspotting, Internal Family Systems, and Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping). I love what I do,
and I am passionate about being part of the change to our broken healthcare system. I am honored for
the opportunity to serve as a member of this foundation because I believe wholeheartedly in the
mission. No human should ever have to suffer alone and those who serve our nation and our
communities are no exception, however, they are often the most neglected. I look forward to making a
difference in the lives of veterans and first responders, in any way that I can.