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KDVA ensures help for women vets

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By LUWANDA KNUCKLES \Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs Women’s Veterans Coordinator

One year ago, I was appointed as Kentucky’s first women veterans’ coordinator. Although the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs had established a Women Veterans Program, it did not have appointed personnel
dedicated exclusively to reaching women veterans to ensure they obtain the benefits and services they have earned.

In the past year, I have traveled all over the Commonwealth to meet women veterans in their communities. I have heard directly from them about their expectations for the Kentucky Women Veterans Program. I am fortunate, due to the program being new enough, to be flexible and able to adapt to deliver what women veterans need and want.

I have heard numerous stories of success in organizing themselves locally, like Athena’s Sisters in Louisville and LadyVetConnect in Lexington. Every local women veteran Meet-and-Greet is an opportunity not just for networking and support but also organizing.

Through conferences and local group organizing, we are able bring women veterans together to learn and network with each other.

As a proud woman veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and a member of the Kentucky Army National Guard, I am humbled by the personal stories Kentucky women veterans have shared with me.

From World War II women veterans now in their 90s but still sharp and able, to women veterans of the Vietnam War and those who served in peacetime, to the youngest women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, our Kentucky women veterans have “been there and done that” and earned our unqualified respect.

Women have served the nation and our Commonwealth, and now it is the turn of the Commonwealth and the nation to serve them. KDVA’s Women Veterans Program is taking point on serving and assessing the needs of women veterans.

As the women veterans’ coordinator I am here to provide information, advocacy, outreach and support to women veterans and their Families. To assure that women veterans receive benefits and services parallel to their male counterparts. To discourage discrimination in the attempt to assure women are treated with respect, dignity, and are understood by veteran service providers.

Women veterans can obtain more information at http://veterans.ky.gov/womenvets, or call (502)564-9203 or reach the coordinator directly at LuWanda.Knuckles@ky.gov. n