Lady Vet

Graphic of nonprofit Final Salute logo

Nonprofit Spotlight: Final Salute

Final Salute, Inc is a non-profit filling a critical gap in services within the Veteran space. Every day, they help homeless women Veterans and their children find safety, stability and hope. While Final Salute is based in the Washington DC Metro area, the organization has assisted more than 7,000 women Veterans and their children in 32 states and territories.

Mosaic image of women Veterans

Veterans Look Like You

Any woman who’s ever served her country knows what it feels like when other people assume that couldn’t possibly be you. The complete look of surprise, the automatic glossing over, even the occasional angry assumption that you don’t belong. The subtle (or sometimes blatant) distrust that spurs people to challenge women on their Veteran status, while taking men at their word.

Woman obscured by the US flag she is holding

A Women Veterans Day

She goes to the club for a service meeting…
and is approached by the district president of the auxiliary,
Because in a Veteran Service Organization, if you’re a woman you must be a spouse
She goes to the VA to check in for an appointment…
and the person at the desk never looks up, as they say “How can I help you, Sir?”
Because if you’re there for treatment, you must be a man

closeup of a young woman posing for a group photo during Navy bootcamp

This Navy Veteran Drove a Billion Dollar War Ship When She Was 18

To join the Army and fire a gun would have been surprising enough, but when people learn that Fowler is a Navy Veteran and once drove a ship, eyes grow big and mouths hang open. “I can’t see you doing that!” is a common response. She is proud but casual about her service and responds with a smile and a shrug. It was just what she did, and she doesn’t regret it for a moment.

Air Force Veteran Katy Doggett in a contemplative gaze.

Proof of Service, Please: One Woman’s Journey From Proud Airman to Invisible Veteran

She stepped out of her car and was immediately accosted by a man in the parking lot. He pointed out that her husband was not there. She responded politely that she was aware. He kept talking, adamant that she was in the wrong. “Well you can’t park there. This is for Veterans only.”

She told the man she was a Veteran. He insisted she was not. But she didn’t back down. “I said, I was in the Air Force, I did my time. I have a DD-214. He said, ‘No you don’t. They don’t look like you in the Air Force.’”

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