Meet Walter Berbrick
Walter knew since he was a kid that he wanted to serve his country and community. His grandfather was a Navy Veteran, who after serving in World War II, moved to a racially divided south and opened a restaurant between black and white neighborhoods.
His goal was to bring people in the community together to break bread and break down barriers. As a son of a cook and cashier, Walter grew up washing dishes and waiting tables in that restaurant from the age of 9. The values of hard work, community, and service that underpinned his success were passed down from generation to generation, ultimately guiding Walter into a life of service.
A Lifetime of Service
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Walter followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and enlisted in the Navy. On nights and weekends, he worked as a bartender in Newport and earned his master’s degree from Salve Regina University, where he returned as an adjunct professor. He then earned a commission as an intelligence officer mostly focused on countering violent extremism. As a civil servant at the U.S. Naval War College, Walter worked to educate and bring leaders across our government together to identify threats to our country.
His collaborative approach to helping our country’s leaders prevent war and adapt to climate change led him to national security roles at the State Department and Pentagon. During the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, Walter helped implement U.S. policies to improve economic and living conditions of coastal communities, protect the environment, and address the impacts of climate change. As a senior policy adviser to the Secretary of the Navy, he led the development of the Department of the Navy’s first strategy for the Arctic region.
As a community volunteer leader with the American Red Cross, Walter has helped Rhode Islanders prepare for and recover from emergencies and disasters–from installing free smoke alarms in homes to delivering COVID-19 vaccines to Providence and Pawtucket residents. He graduated with his doctorate from Northeastern University to better understand how laws and policies can help people in need.
Walter lives in Middletown with his wife, Laurie, their two kids, Aubrey and James, and their dog Lola.