The new National Women Veterans United members from Rockford, IL, attend their first meeting. They were presented with the NWVU “Women Veterans Are Heroes Too” medal early, as they will not be able to attend the Awards Luncheon on March 12, 2016, when NWVU new members will be honored. From left Melody Brocato, US Marine Corps veteran is presented the Medal from NWVU Board of Directors Chair, US Army Colonel (Ret) Sandra Webb- Booker, PhD and to the right, NWVU Vice-President, US ARMY (Ret) Colonel Connie Edwards, PhD, presents a medal to US Army SFC (Ret) Nancy Clark.
NWVU members are working on National Women Veterans United (NWVU) group Chapters (SHEVETS Rockford Chapter) will become NWVU Chapter 2.
NWVU has members in Florida, California, and Atlanta but not Chapters. The National Women Veterans United is calling on women veterans and service women to join and help build Chapters across the Nation to ensure we are equally represented and not divided by our service, rank or if we had overseas service or served during Peace-time, National Guards or Reserve.
Those groups are great to capture the history of women who served in those specific organizations like the (WACs) but don’t represent those who served in other branches. All of us who served did so in the same spirit of making a pledge to defend the nation while putting that uniform on. We want our chapters to start opening Women Veteran Center’s to address the specific needs of all women veterans in their communities. It will be important so no women veteran who wore that uniform is excluded from getting resources to thrive and be resilient.
While the nation continues to find ways to end homelessness. one of our major efforts will be to assist with eliminating homeless women veterans and their families. The IL Community Women Veteran’s Center is learning that women veterans feel a little more comfortable with sharing their issues and being outside of the male dominated homeless population in the VA system.
Women Veterans have pride and often we are stripped of that pride when we are seen in the arena with that huge population of homeless men. That is why NWVU started the Stand Down specifically for Women Veterans. We then opened it to all women veterans so there is no distinction of being homeless or making 3 digits. We want the women who are ok to see what the needs are and give back so we can help others be ok. We are working together homeless or not because it is about “All of us, not one of us”
That is why our membership is open to all from the highest rank to the lowest enlisted rank while active, retired or just discharged.
This is how the legislators and VA needs to operate when determining VA benefits. Shamefully we wear the same uniform while serving in the National Guards and Reserves but after years of honorable service it then splits that you are not eligible for certain VA benefits because you “only served” in the Reserves or National Guards. Congress needs to rethink this division of service.
NWVU Mission 100 continues to move forward. The membership of 100 in each Chapter will give us a stronger voice to work with local organizations and National Organizations (AMVETS, American Legions, VFW) etc where they have small populations of women membership. They are doing a fantastic effort to get more women involved but the dominated membership of males are often intimidating to some women… but not all. They just feel more empowered to have more women involved. An example is that men don’t necessarily care about the VA having more GYN doctors if that was one of our needs.
Rochelle Crump, President
National Women Veterans United