Fe­male veter­ans

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

Women are the fastest-grow­ing seg­ment of Amer­ica’s veteran pop­u­la­tion. Home to 111,000 women who have served, Vir­ginia ranks fourth in the na­tion.

For both male and fe­male veter­ans, read­just­ing to civil­ian life after serv­ing in far­away lands and ex­tended de­ploy­ments can be a trial. For women vets, how­ever, there can be ad­di­tional chal­lenges and hur­dles. So­ci­ety still tends to as­sume that all veter­ans are men. The De­part­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs and other agen­cies created to as­sist Johnny when he came march­ing home, are still lim­ited in scope when it comes to help­ing Jane tran­si­tion from mil­i­tary life. Ac­cess to ad­e­quate health care, read­just­ment ben­e­fits, and em­ploy­ment as­sis­tance can be es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing for women.

For­tu­nately, these prob­lems are far less preva­lent in Vir­ginia than in most states. The com­mon­wealth’s De­part­ment of Veter­ans Ser­vices (VDVS) is one of the best in the na­tion. Its pro­grams geared to­ward women vets are un­matched.

To­day and to­mor­row, the VDVS and part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tions are hold­ing the fifth an­nual Vir­ginia Women Veter­ans Sum­mit at the Hil­ton Alexan­dria Mark Cen­ter in Alexan­dria. More than 600 fe­male mil­i­tary veter­ans are ex­pected to at­tend. The sum­mit in­cludes na­tion­ally known speak­ers and lead­ers on a va­ri­ety of topics of in­ter­est to fe­male veter­ans and ac­tive-duty women in the process of tran­si­tion­ing to civil­ian life. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from sev­eral ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions, in­clud­ing Ama­zon, Do­min­ion En­ergy, and Deloitte, and nu­mer­ous state and fed­eral govern­ment agen­cies will be present. Navy veteran Robin Beres, Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch ed­i­to­rial colum­nist and as­so­ciate editor, is the master of cer­e­monies. More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at https://www.dvs.vir­ginia.gov/. For those un­able to at­tend the event, Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 84 has part­nered with the VDVS to host a re­source fair for women veter­ans in Rich­mond. The event will honor our women veter­ans and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on ser­vices and re­sources avail­able in the metro area. Light re­fresh­ments will be pro­vided. The re­source fair will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on June 20 at the Vir­ginia War Memo­rial. It is free and open to women veter­ans but space is lim­ited. If in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing, RSVP by June 17 to 84.post.le­gion@ gmail.com.

Fe­male veter­ans are smart, savvy, and they have ex­cel­lent lead­er­ship skills — ex­actly what’s needed for the well-ed­u­cated work­force that Vir­ginia’s grow­ing econ­omy de­mands. The com­mon­wealth and veter­ans ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions within the state are wise to reach out to them.

U.S. AIR FORCE IL­LUS­TRA­TION/SE­NIOR AIRMAN MI­CA­IAH AN­THONY

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