As a Vietnam Era Veteran and former member of the Womens Army Corps (WAC as some might remember it), I remember how our Vietnam Veterans were treated, including my own brother, who served two tours in Vietnam. I distinctly remember him telling me when I was 14 that the suitcase full of medals wouldn’t buy him a cup of coffee – anywhere. And that was all he shared with me.
As a former Army Soldier, dependent wife and mother, and then single mom living here in the southeast side of Colorado Springs, I know exactly what the challenges are for our moms. I recall taking a bus in 1980 to a job interview, walking a mile, and then not getting the job. That’s just one of many experiences I had as that mom. Nothing has changed since 1980. Today, we don’t have bus service at the airport, and many moms, without cars have difficulty taking care of their family. Available services are 3 hours away by bus, and 20 minutes by car. It’s a sad situation. Serving on the PPACG and PPRTA Citizens’ Advisory Committees, I advocate regularly for better transit services – for our families, veterans, under-served and under-represented members of our community. It is changing slowly, but too slowly for those needing the connectivity in our community.
I have another personal connection through my son, who currently serves at Joint Base Lewis McCord in Washington. My son was single when he went with his Marine Brothers to Iraq in Iraqi Freedom, and returned two more times as an Army Soldier to Bagdad. As a single Soldier, my son had false claims against him. I fought those attacks whether they were in Colorado, Kansas, or Texas. I also stayed in touch with his Unit’s activities through the family services on Fort Carson.
I also remember that my Grandfather was a Marine and my Dad was an Army Aircorpman who was there when the Aircorp became the Air Force. He retired as an U.S. Air Force officer, and he served in Korea. These Veterans deserve our honor, memories, and respect. Their wisdom and experiences paved the way for our understanding of today’s issues. There are solutions to address our VA in Colorado, and I want to work to make as many improvements as possible.
Today, men and women serve our Country with dignity and honor and we must ensure that they are not dishonored as our Vietnam Veterans were. Our Wounded Warriors have many resources and I know we can improve how we help our military brothers and sisters and their families. This includes Reservists and National Guard because I know you, too, were deployed and stood side-by-side in the battle. It is my personal mission to stand up for our Veterans of all types and their families, and ensure they receive the support and benefits they earned serving our Country.
I have personal experience as a Veteran Advocate and want to extend that experience to serve our community.