Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Women Veterans Honored
Last week more than 60 female Veterans joined together, including Air Force Staff Sgt Stacy Pearsall (Ret.), award winning combat photographer and White House Champion of Change recipient; Col. Judith Hughes, 628th Medical Group Commander from Charleston Air Force Base and retired Air Force Col. Mary Martin, to celebrate Women’s History Month with a special presentation by Pearsall and luncheon.
“It was a great opportunity to say “thank you” to our lady Veterans,” said Patricia Hancox, Women’s Program Manager.
Pearsall’s presentation about her career as a Combat Photographer was the highlight of the program. She shared a touching rendition of photos and video from the field, noting the obstacles and triumphs she experienced as a female serving in a male-dominated career.
“I wasn’t going to let anyone stand in my way, I had a job to do,” Pearsall exclaimed.
Pearsall photographed each of the female Veterans during the event. She donates countless hours to helping female combat Veterans get access to VA care and benefits.
Representatives from the Red Cross, Military Sexual Trauma, Homeless Program, Charleston Vet Center, Eligibility, VFW Ladies Auxiliary and the Women’s Program shared information about benefits and services.
“It’s important that our female Veterans are aware of the services we have to offer,” said Emma Love, Administrative Officer of Health Administration. “There’s a huge culture change happening in the VA, with the increase of women serving, and we strive to provide them with the best care anywhere.”
Love is one of many female Veterans working for the medical center. Nearly 10 percent of female employees working for the VA are Veterans, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (VANCVAS). Females currently account for approximately 10 percent of the total Veteran population in the United States. Projected statistical results anticipate our female Veteran population to exceed 15 percent in the next 20 years.
“The increasing number of female Veterans means we have a growing need for access to care and services,” said Hancox. “We have a tremendous responsibility to these women to ensure they are aware of the benefits they are entitled to for serving their country.”
For more information about women’s health visit: www.womenshealth.va.gov.