Womens Veteran Expo
The 2014 Women Veterans Summit & Expo brought veterans of WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, the Gulf War and the War on Terror together with service organizations and veteran friendly vendors at the North Carolina National Guard’s Joint Task Force Headquarters here, April 17, 2014.

The highlight was the NCNG’s Commander in Chief, Gov. Pat McCrory, honoring the nearly 500 veterans in the audience as he signed the North Carolina Women Veterans Day Proclamation.

Former Army Maj. Cheryl Rawls, Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Office Director in Winston-Salem, made it official affixing the Great Seal of North Carolina to the proclamation.

“The women in this audience are making history,” said McCrory.

Some made history a little earlier than others in the audience. “We set the stage,” said WWII and Korean War veteran, U.S. Navy Yeoman Norma Schrader.

The North Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs, the VBA and the Veterans Health Administration organized the conference. Their goals were to educate women veterans about the history and tradition of women’s presence in the armed forces, better explain benefits that the VA offers to all veterans but particularly programs that are specific to women veterans.

“It is very informative and motivational,” said Army Sgt. Selena Holleman, a member of the NCNG’s 163rd Area Support Medical Company, headquartered in East Flat Rock.

The veterans shared their stories and addressed issues women face in the military. Formal sessions and the many information booths and tables created opportunities for women from all branches to talk to sponsors from the USO, Tricare North, the Social Security Administration and many others about job openings, business growth, education benefits and other aspects of professional growth.

“To be surrounded by women veterans of different wars was very empowering,” said Holleman.

April is a big month for women’s issues as McCrory also designated it as Sexual Assault Awareness month as well.
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