About three years ago, The American Legion Department of Colorado’s Female Veterans Action Committee started hosting workshops around the state to provide training, health care and education information to women veterans. The committee is hosting its fifth Women Veterans Resource Fair March 30 from 9 a.m. to noon at American Legion Post 2 in Pueblo, Colo. And it’s free for women veterans in the area to attend.
Through the events, “we actually get out and hear what the female veterans have to say,” said Deb Davis, chairwoman of the Female Veterans Action Committee and commander of Post 206 in Aurora, an all-female post. “We help them in so many ways that the posts do not because a lot of posts don’t think about having female veterans in their posts, even though they’re there. But (female veterans) are not thought of as something that maybe we need to address specific issues with.”
At each event, the committee brings in veteran service officers, education staff from nearby universities or colleges, VA representatives and other community leaders that can answer the needs of women veterans. Each provider gives a quick introduction about who they are and how they can provide assistance. Attendees also receive training on finances, physical fitness, development and coaching, a free meal, and the event ends with a question-and-answer session.
During a women veterans event in Greeley at American Legion Post 18, the question-and-answer session provided a safe place for women veterans in attendance to talk about military sexual trauma, Davis said. And counselors from the Denver VA were there to provide assistance. “We are creating safe places for these women and every place that we have been to," Davis said. "These women are like sponges because they are not getting the information otherwise.”
The Women Veterans Resource Fair in Pueblo will feature veteran service officers from four nearby counties; a representative from the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System; education coordinators from Colorado Technical University, Colorado State University Pueblo and Pueblo Community College; and representation from Companion Ranch, a place for disabled veterans to train dogs for service, emotional support and therapy.
The Women Veterans Resource Fair events “are a lot of fun,” Davis said. They also serve as a membership tool. At the event in Greeley, 27 women joined The American Legion. “A lot of women veterans don’t know that they are even eligible to join The American Legion,” Davis said.