MICHIGAN (WJMN) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed June 12, 2020, as Women Veterans Recognition Day in Michigan. She urged all Michiganders to honor women Veterans for their contributions and sacrifices.
According to a release on the State of Michigan’s website, there are currently over 2 million women Veterans living in the United States and Puerto Rico, and, of this number, nearly 44,000 make Michigan their home.
The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency hosted a Facebook live celebration on Friday, as a conversation with some of the women who represent women Veterans in Michigan.
One of the featured speakers in Friday’s event was U.S. Navy Veteran Candy Robertson. According to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, Robertson retired in 2019 after a 21-year Navy career that saw her rise to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, train with Navy Seals, balance military and family life, and then deal with the often-difficult transition into civilian life. Candy is sharing her story in the first installment of MVAA’s She is A Veteran campaign.
The She Is A Veteran is an initiative to recognize the many remarkable women in Michigan who have served their country in the US Armed Forces. The campaign is focused on highlighting the women veterans with a story to share. Candy’s story is the first in the seies that will be shared every other month through June 2021.
Part of Friday’s conversation also included comments from Henrietta Hadley, representing WINC: For All Women Veterans. It is a nonprofit whose mission in part is to: WINC is effectively addressing the varied needs of Women Veterans, many who were injured in combat, and have emotional wounds they are reluctant to share with governmental veteran organizations.
Hadley said the She Is A Veteran campaign has helped WINC’s mission by giving women veterans validation to want to speak about their experience. When the group first formed, Hadley said the primary goal was to engage women to revitalize their lives. The acronym initially stood for Women Injured in Combat.
“The founder shared with all of our partners, it doesn’t matter we all served whether you were in combat or not. We are here to serve all women veterans. So we were able to take that stigma away because women veterans don’t want to self-identify. So anything they could find to say, no, I don’t belong, then we embraced everyone,” said Hadley.
Hadley continued part of WINC’s mission is to help women transition from their time in service, back into society and with their families. They work to provide support, sharing resources and materials.