There are approximately 67,500 female veterans in Ohio, and roughly two million of the 19 million U.S. veterans are women. In Northwest Ohio, there are 194 female veterans identified. It is with deep gratitude, we thank those who have served and are currently serving our country. And it is with deep compassion that we recognize their sacrifices come not only during the service itself, but after service as they adjust to civil life.
Women have their own unique set of challenges when integrating back to civilian life such as readapting to motherhood, relationships, and work.
Some of these issues include, but are not limited to:
- financial instability
- lack of recognition by civilians that a woman can be a veteran who has experienced different social & psychological experiences
- lack of child care assistance for single mothers
- lack of community of women veterans
- increasing rates of homelessness and suicide among women veterans
- drug and alcohol abuse
- women specific health care needs: pregnancy or reproductive health, mental health after enduring trauma, lack of privacy
Many women are facing these challenges alone and lack the resources and connections to smoothly transition from one culture to the next. One female-focused organization, the Women’s Veterans Initiative, is diligently working to help ease the burden.
Women Veterans Initiative
The Women Veterans Initiative (WVI) is one of several initiatives of the United States Vets, Inc (USVI), a non-profit organization assisting veterans and their families through advocacy, referrals, education and fundraising. The Women Veterans Initiative’s mission is to communicate information to female veterans pertaining to benefits, education, community service and socialization with a special focus on veterans. Like many other organizations in the area, WVI is veterans helping veterans.
One undertaking of the WVI is personal aid and home visitation for veterans based on assessment needs. WVI Coordinator Carolyn Nagy has worked with several female veterans, one on one, volunteering her time with tasks like transporting to the dentist, cleaning an apartment, or visiting a veteran at a nursing home.
“There is a need, and the different needs of women are not being met as well,” says Nagy. “I’ve spent individual time with a lot of female veterans, and sometimes it just feels like no one cares. They need someone to care for them.”
It is this compassion and persistence that placed Nagy into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. She will be inducted in October this year.
Carolyn Nagy, WVI Coordinator
Carolyn Nagy now dedicates her time and energy actively addressing and advocating for women veterans. Nagy served for 12 years in the U.S. Army Nurse Corp where she was honorably discharged with the rank of Major. In November 1991, Nagy was deployed to Saudia Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. As Chief Nurse, Nagy witnessed the issues and needs of women soldiers and the development of PTSD from drastic changes in daily activities, the harsh conditions of the desert, privacy, showers, female hygiene, the stress of family at home, and overperforming to keep up with expectations.
“Once women returned home, they had to address their disrupted family lives, their physical and mental health and rediscover where they fit into their professional lives,” said Nagy.
As Coordinator of the WVI, she aims to continue building awareness of women veterans and their needs within the community, provide socialization opportunities, and provide resources and direction to veterans and their families.
*For more information about the Women Veterans Initiative, please follow them on Facebook: Women Veterans Initiative of Northwest Ohio. You can also email Carolyn Nagy at [email protected] to sign up for their monthly newsletter. The WVI does accept donations. If you would like to donate, please contact the Carolyn Nagy.
Community Veteran Programs
H.O.O.V.E.S, Healing of Our Veterans Equarian Services, is an equine-assisted therapy community organization founded by veteran Amanda Held in 2009 helping veterans transform their post traumatic stress in post traumatic growth. Working with horses is a chance to be present, initiate the transformation of grief, and witness the horses as a feedback mechanism of what may be held as hurt, anger, or other emotions.
“It’s a tremendous loss when we lose our military status,” says Amanda Held, founder of H.O.O.V.E.S. “The military and government provide practical job training and resume skills, but there is no emotional support, and a lot of the veteran community is rooted in grief.”
H.O.O.V.E.S was created to assist in the reintegration process with a three day group retreat accessible to veterans. There are twelve lessons in this program involving exercises based on neuroscience, each building on the next, paired with equine activities.This program is provided at no cost to the veteran.
The new location also offers bee-keeping for veterans, a community garden, yoga, sound healing, and meditation. To find more information on H.O.O.V.E.S, visit hooves.us, call 419-930-7936, or connect on Facebook at @hoovesforvets.
Little Blessings Veteran and Community Outreach, founded by veteran Jamie Paxton, is a nonprofit organization and community support system for veterans and families located in Temperance, Michigan.This year- long program supports veterans out of the military transitioning into the civilian spector. The program is broken down into five powerful and thoughtful phases, each around ten-weeks.
Little Blessings is a place to experience, offering veteran retreats, meditation, family equine support groups, yoga, massage therapy, reiki, a community garden space, and weekly community dinner. Veterans and their families do not have to go through the Equain program to get access to this unique space.
Head over to littleblessingsverteranoutreach.com where you can also find their podcast “Warrior Spotlight” connecting veterans with local resources, call 419-779-0342, or connect with their growing community on Facebook @LittleBlessingsOutreach.