The Importance of Community

Jessica King – Editor

 the importance of community

Welcome to TheWomanVeteran.com! As women who have served our nation, we have a unique set of needs but there is not a unique one-stop resource to get us on the road to obtaining benefits, information, news and the gear that we deserve. Most importantly, we really don’t have a safe space to communicate our triumphs, tragedies, frustrations, joys and knowledge.  Over the years, I have spent countless hours perusing through innumerable sites that offer little to no women veteran specific information.  Yes, there are Facebook groups for us and I belong to many and enjoy the camaraderie they can provide but those conversations are not “searchable” or “archived” in any useful way. This website will bridge the information gap, keep our discussions restricted to only women veteran participants and organize our conversations into searchable data. The more we use it the more information we can accumulate and provide to each other. But the biggest goal and ultimate mission of TheWomanVeteran.com is for it to serve as a platform to unify the women veterans across our great nation as one strong community, literally leaving no woman behind.

Why do we need a community? The truth is that without each other we can accomplish very little, but as a community we can change the world. As Women Veterans, we have an obligation to those who came before us, to those with whom we have served and to those who are currently serving. We must ensure that our sisters who are currently serving are treated with dignity, respect and equality and that those who are no longer serving are receiving the benefits and support they are entitled to. How can we do this? We must unite! When our voices are combined we will be heard.  

As veterans, the adage “there is strength in numbers” needs no explanation. Throughout the history of the world, coordinated efforts by large forces have been a core component in both warfare and politics. As military women who struggle for equality in the politically controlled military and VA systems, it is essential that we unite and coordinate our efforts to improve our chances of success. It may seem that we are getting closer to equality, but “close enough for government work” is not the goal!

Whether you plan to use their healthcare offerings or not, every single Woman Veteran should register with the VA for healthcare. Why? Because the VA bean counters fund programs based upon need.  For instance, the need for a Women’s Clinic is determined by the number of Women Veterans registered with the VA for healthcare in a service area. If you do not register you will not be counted because the VA has no other way to know that you are a Veteran in that area. Again, power in numbers. We should not think only of ourselves individually and whether we need a particular benefit or not; we must think of all our sisters.

There are opportunities for change on a national level and in most cases, the politician’s decisions to sponsor a bill or endorse a cause are motivated by the number of constituents who are asking them to do so. As a community, we have the power to bring much greater attention to our needs than if we go at it in smaller groups.  Now is the perfect time for us to take action as recent legislative changes, large scale scandals and our role in the war on terror has brought more media focus on women who serve than we have received since WWII. Using my military training, I have concluded that it is tactically strategic to take advantage of this. Who knows?! We could end up taking over the country! Regardless, we need to unite as a strong community so we can shoot for stars and “Leave no woman behind”!

Jessica King is a Service Disabled Marine Corps Veteran who has dedicated her life to advocating for her fellow Veterans, with a special focus on Women Veterans. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and has completed a successful career in Business Management, Finance and Human Resources. After separating from the service, she worked as a Transition Assistance Counselor teaching the TAP workshops at Ft. Campbell KY while serving as a DOL Veterans Employment Representative. She then went on to attended the DAV National Service Officers Academy. Jessica has spent the last seventeen years diligently advocating for veteran’s causes while working a full-time job and raising two children. Her accomplishments include starting and leading three separate Veterans non-profits, serving a term as President of the local Chapter of the Women Marines Association, founding a Veterans Park in her hometown and serving on the board of four Veteran Service Organizations. She was named the 2016 Tennessee State Woman Veteran of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services and is the President/Co-Owner of TheWomanVeteran LLC. She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband Michael, their dog Mia and their cat Everest.

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