Washington (CNN) - Standing behind the president during a bill signing is a shining moment for any policy activist.
For Paul Rieckhoff, it came last week when President Obama signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act into law.
Having served in the Army for six years and as an infantry platoon leader in Iraq, Rieckhoff knows something about the challenges active-duty soldiers face overseas and later when they come home.
Rieckhoff's experience inspired the 30-something executive director and founding member of the nonpartisan Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America to challenge the way the country supports veterans.
"We can say we really got something significant done," he said on a warm fall day near Capitol Hill. "We used all the tools in our arsenal, ranging from our e-mail list to Facebook to Twitter to folks on the ground, to push forward a really transformative piece of legislation that's going to help a lot of vets."
The IAVA notes the new law will provide "timely, predictable funding for veterans' health care by requiring Congress to approve a health care budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at least one year in advance."
Rieckhoff has come a long way from combat in Iraq. Tailored suits and policy papers now replace his military uniform and M-16.