Below are thoughts from HVAF’s VP for Strategy, Emmy Hildebrand, regarding Women’s History Month – as a female VP and military wife:
Welcome to March 2021! We are now a full year into the COVID-19 global health crisis, and with new COVID diagnoses decreasing and the number of those vaccinated rapidly increasing, there is reason to be optimistic. Need another reason to celebrate? It is Women’s History Month and I am honored to write this month in celebration of the many women on our team, the women veterans we serve, and all those impacting our community, nation and world for the better.
Women’s History Week was first established by the United States Congress in 1981, and it took only 6 short years to realize that a full month—31 days—was needed to properly recognize the contributions women have made throughout our history. We are all familiar with the stories of women like Abigail Adams, Clara Barton, Rosa Parks and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—just a handful of the thousands of American women who shaped our future. While it is important to recognize and celebrate their contributions, I would like to pause for a moment and recognize a group of women who change lives every day—the women who come to work at HVAF dedicated to our mission to house, support and advocate for veterans and their families!
Did you know that 60% of the staff at HVAF are women, including many serving in positions of leadership? From our longest tenured female employee (At 13 years of service–Sammy Mitchell!) to our newest (First day on the job–Pamela Arias!), we are blessed to have a team that so compassionately cares for our veterans. During COVID, this team has worked harder to help veterans facing homelessness and a global pandemic find safe temporary housing, sustainable permanent housing and employment to help reach self-sufficiency. Last year, 1,453 veterans received life changing assistance at HVAF.
As an Army wife, I have seen my husband display the grit and determination it takes to serve our country. I have also witnessed firsthand the sacrifices many women make in our Armed Forces and am I am grateful that HVAF serves as a support for women veterans facing homelessness. Sadly, female veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless veteran population. Knowing that, I am thankful to share stories about veterans like Sierra, Jessica, and Theresa.
With over 20 days left to celebrate Women’s History Month, I hope you will join me in recognizing the contributions—large and small—that women are making each day to better our world.