FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Contact: Tammy Martin
NC DMVA Event Provides Information on VA Healthcare, Inspiration, Hope, and Employment Options to Women Military Service Members and Veterans
Approximately 300 Attend 2023 Women MilVets Summit in Raleigh
Raleigh, NC — Approximately 300 women military servicemembers, veterans, military spouses, reserves, National Guard, and caregivers participated in the 2023 Women MilVets Summit on Tuesday. The NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NC DMVA) hosted the event at the McKimmon Center at NCSU in Raleigh. Governor Roy Cooper and LtGen Walter E. Gaskin, USMC, Ret., Secretary of the NC DMVA welcomed participants to the event.
"We owe a deep and profound debt of gratitude to the women who have served our country, and your work is making our military stronger and our country safer. We'll continue our work to ensure that North Carolina is the most military-friendly state," Governor Cooper said. "I'm grateful to our NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for their work to help women servicemembers and veterans transition to civilian careers and lives after their service."
“Women are the fastest growing demographic to serve in the military, and to enroll in the Department of Veterans (VA) health-care system,” said LtGen Walter E. Gaskin, USMC, Ret., Secretary, NC DMVA. “With women accounting for two million of the nation’s veterans, the NC DMVA was pleased to be able to provide an opportunity for these servicemembers and veterans to learn about the resources available to them. We know the sacrifice they make for all of us. They have earned and deserve to receive all services and benefits we can provide. We appreciate the impact their service has on their families, and we honor their commitments to our state and our nation.”
Command Sergeant Major Tonya Sims of the 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade provided some words of inspiration to the participants. “Your journey wearing the uniform or being connected to someone who has, is not a mistake and it has not gone unnoticed,” said CSM Tonya Sims, 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade. “Those who wore and continue to wear the military uniform embody the professionalism, honor, courage, and commitment not only to their branch of service but for the people. When you put on that uniform, it told me you wanted to be something bigger than yourself. You wore that uniform because you were and are the best of the best. Just as uniforms have evolved, so have we. We continue to improve our talents, knowledge, and skills with rigorous training activities and challenging assignments, which have shifted boundaries and history continues to be made and the bench continues to grow.”
As part of the activities, representatives from the VA, the state and municipal organizations presented a multitude of options for women who are active military, veterans, military spouses, reserves, National Guard, and caregivers for healthcare, benefits, and many other services.
“We want to ensure that all women connected to the military are able to access the right care at the right time,” said Shenekia Williams-Johnson, RN, BSN, MAOM, Women’s Veteran Program Manager, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Network. “We have heard you. We are continually adding the programs, and services that women have said they need, and we will continue to do that based on the feedback we receive from our women military servicemembers and veterans.”
“Many women do not know about or use the benefits the VA offers,” said Darcy Beatty, USCG Veteran, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Assistant Veteran Service Center Manager, Winston-Salem Regional Officer. “We have benefits for women military and veterans that include military disability service-connected compensation, pension, survivor and burial benefits, ancillary compensation or pension benefits, education benefits, veteran readiness and employment benefits, and home loan benefits.”
“You do NOT need a lawyer to attain military benefits,” Crystal Miller, NC National Guard and OIF/OEF Iraq Veteran, Veteran Services Supervisor, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, Veteran Services Division, “the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has Veteran Service Officers (VSOs) who are ready to help women military servicemembers and veterans attain all the benefits they have earned and deserve.”
There were also workshops and discussions around vocational rehabilitation, resume writing, employment options, and interview tips.
“It’s no secret that women face unique challenges in the U.S. military, and they don’t often stop when they finish their service,” said LtGen Walter E. Gaskin, USMC Ret., Secretary, NC DMVA, “Challenges for housing, challenges for medical plans, challenges of unemployment, and challenges for education, that males don’t necessarily have as a challenge. When women are looking for homes, there’s often a family connection. They are often looking for a home for their family. Sometimes we only focus on the unemployment part, but with unemployment also comes homelessness. DMVA is listening. It is important that when we talk about support for our servicemembers, veterans, and caregivers, that we are talking about support that is meaningful and will lift you up.”
Attendees at the summit also benefited from an emphasis on mindfulness and mental health wellness for all roles women have in their military careers and in their personal home life, as well as an appreciation for artistic expression in our overall well-being.
NC DMVA Facebook Page