top of page

Lt. Col. Bernardine (Bernie) Donato - U.S. Navy and USAF (Retired)

Bernie was born and brought up in Slingerlands, New York. She is a graduate of Ellis Hospital School of Nursing in Schenectady, NY. She received a Bachelor in Science degree in Health Administration from the University of La Verne in California. Bernie Donato spent 24 years in the military. The first 10 years of her career was spent in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. In 1984 she transferred to the 146th Tactical Airlift Wing of the California Air National Guard where she was assigned to the 146th Tactical Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron as a C-130 flight nurse. Bernie was deployed to multiple operational areas including, Panama, Korea, and Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In her civilian career, Bernie spent over 40 years as a registered nurse. 24 of those years were as an Emergency/Trauma Mobile Intensive Care Nurse in South Central Los Angeles. In addition, she taught paramedic interns in classroom and field training. Bernie spent 11 years as a Reserve Police Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. She was assigned to 77th Division in South Central Los Angeles where she worked patrol, vice, the gang units, and fugitive warrants. This officer was deployed to the field during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Aside from receiving multiple division and bureau commendations, Bernie was awarded the Los Angeles Police Reserve Office of the Year in 1995 and the Los Angeles County Reserve officer of the year in 1996.

Bernie retired as a Research Nurse Coordinator from the University of California, Irvine in 2013 and moved to N. Carolina. She continues to give back to her community in many ways. Bernie is the Veteran Engagement Coordinator for Team Red, White & Blue Raleigh/Durham Chapter and a member of Team Rubicon.  Please visit my website

Military Experience

 My 24 years in the military with combat area deployments; the 40 yrs as an RN with 24 of those years in ER/Trauma: the 11 years as a reserve LAPD Police officer in South Central Los Angeles all took a toll on my well being.

Art Beginnings

One of my first contacts with art was when I was in kindergarten. One of my report cards said "Bernardine loves art" I dabbled over the years but never had a lot of time to develop my talent until I retired.

Art Experience

I took a class in watercolor after I retired and found it help me deal with the constant slide show in my head of shot, stabbed, beat, traumatized, and dead human beings. I, then, started experimenting in many different mediums. Art is my my space for solitude where I can tune out, unwind, and create.

My Medium

I dabble in many different mediums, such as acrylics, watercolor, zentangle inspired, and photography. I believe that working in a single medium is restrictive to my artistic process. Each idea manifests in its own individual style.

You can see more of my work on my website:

My Inspiration

I am inspired by a variety of different things. I embrace the struggles of others and find their strength and inspiration for some of my paintings. After 24 years of military service I am extremely patriotic shown by the many American flag paintings I complete and gift to veterans. I can't say there is one type of subject I enjoy painting or photographing. If it speaks to me I will embrace it.

bottom of page