The 2018 General Assembly (GA) session adjourned on 10 March having accomplished much but also with work left undone. The House of Delegates successfully advanced several major priorities as part of the practical solutions to everyday issues agenda, including legislation to address our teacher shortage, lower the cost of medical prescriptions, create avenues to get students into good paying jobs, and honor you, our veterans, who have given and continue to give so much to our country.
Unfortunately the GA adjourned without agreement on a two-year budget, but we are committed to completing work on the budget long before the deadline of 1 July. I will note that the House Budget did include $96,000 over the next two years to fund a new position, a Women Veterans Coordinator. This is an initiative of the Department of Veteran Services (DVS). The DVS Women Veterans Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring that DVS veterans programs and services meet the unique needs of Virginia’s 104,000+ women veterans. The Women Veterans Coordinator will lead agency efforts to improve and impact the quality of life for women veterans and their families. Virginia has the highest number of women veterans per capita of any state, and the number of women veterans is forecast to grow to over 120,000 in the next decade.
We also passed a Resolution, HJ76 (and companion Senate Resolution 36) designating the third week of March 2018 and each succeeding year as Women Veterans Week. This is very fitting as the nation celebrates March as Women’s History Month. For more information on Women’s History Month click here. This special newsletter will highlight some of the events planned this year during that week. I have also included Military History Anniversaries for March.
Local Women Veterans Week 2018 Activities
The Virginia Department of Veteran Services (DVS) is celebrating Women Veterans Week 18-24 March this year in anticipation of future events to be conducted during ‘official’ weeks starting in 2019. Among the events planned are:
- A Women Veterans display can be viewed in the lobby of James Monroe building, 101 N 14th Street, Richmond, from 19-23 March.
- A Presentation to Women Veterans will be made at Sitter & Barfoot Care Center (1601 Broad Rock Blvd. Richmond) on Wednesday, 21 March at 11:00 a.m. Gift baskets will be presented to the woman veteran residents at Sitter & Barfoot in a small, informal event.
- A Webinar – Creating Your New Life Chapter will be conducted at noon on Wednesday 21 March. The webinar will discuss post active duty service roles and identities as a woman back with your community, job, and family and how to best use your military experiences to shape your newest version of yourself. You can register for this free webinar here.
- A Finance Webinar will be conducted at noon on Thursday 22 March which is designed to give transitioning military and Veterans information about how to best plan for transition from the military. The webinar will be hosting by the Virginia Transition Assistance Program (VTAP). You can register for this free webinar here. This webinar is also available at other times.
- Fort Lee Women’s History Month will be celebrated at a observance at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday 22 March at the Lee Theater (4300 Mahone Ave, Fort Lee). Several videos will be shown including a new video focusing on The Fort Lee Army Women’s Museum. Period Army female uniforms will be showcased as will the successes of female NCOs and Officers with associations with Fort Lee. The 392nd Army Band will also perform. For more information click here.
- A Presentation to Women Veterans will be made at the Virginia Veterans Care Center in Roanoke (550 Shenandoah Avenue, Roanoke) at 1:00 p.m. on Friday 23 March. Gift baskets will be presented to the woman veteran residents at the Care Center in a small, informal event.
- A Women in the Vietnam Era presentation will be held at the Virginia War Memorial (621 S. Belvidere St. Richmond) on Thursday 29 March from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Professor Renee Garris, Adjunct Instructor of Humanities at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College will provide an in-depth look at the roles women played in the Vietnam era.
- National Vietnam War Day at Fort Lee In partnership with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service at Fort Lee will honor all who served during the Vietnam War with free commemorative lapel pins marking the war’s 50th anniversary. Any Vietnam-era Veteran who served on active duty between Nov. 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, regardless of location, is invited to visit the Main Exchange from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on March 29, National Vietnam War Veterans Day, to receive their United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin. Complimentary Vietnam Veteran bumper stickers will also be available at the event.
Virginia Women Veterans Summit
The Department of Veteran Services will also be holding a summit for Virginia Women Veterans from 14-15 June 2018. For more information and to register click here. This event will bring together veterans, community leaders, employers, and government agencies from the federal, state, and local levels to raise awareness about the services and benefits offered specifically for women veterans.
The summit will also host exhibitors whose mission involves the wellness and wholeness of women veterans and feature notable presenters. In addition to dynamic panel discussions, speakers and vendors representing various agencies and employers, this is a powerful time for networking and connecting.
Military History Anniversaries
For those interested in Military History, items of interest for 1-15 March can be found here and those for 16-31 March can be found here. Note that during the Revolutionary War Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams, on 31 March 1776, urging him and the other members of the Continental Congress not to forget about the nation’s women when fighting for America’s independence from Great Britain.