Women veterans check out local resources available

(ABC 6 News) – Military veterans may not know what benefits they might have, especially women veterans.

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 28 hosted an open house event at the VFW Post 1215 in Rochester on Thursday for women veterans to stop by and see what resources, healthcare and wellness benefits are available to them.

"There are so many veterans, not only women but so many veterans that just don’t know what their benefits are," Commander Kati Carpenter at DAV Chapter 28 said.

Some of the local community resources at the event included the VA, Zumbro Valley Mental Health and Moments Hospice.

"Sometimes you aren’t sure. You’re afraid to ask so it’s good to talk with other women veterans," Navy Reserve veteran Kelly Allen-Sobeck said.

"Women don’t often identify as veterans or seek out services and benefits like male veterans do so we like to have some sort of event each year so that we can get women together and just being in the room with other women veterans can be very healing and fun for that camaraderie," Ashley Laganiere, Senior Veteran Service Officer with Olmsted County Veteran Services, said.

Veterans at the event said they have a unique bond.

"Although we were in different branches at different times and we’re different ages, we all have that common bond that we might not have with any of our other sisters in the community," Barbara Stiles, Women’s Army Corps veteran, said.

"But it’s good to know that they’re here and they’re out there for military women and military families," Mary Brickzin-Gale, Active Duty Army veteran, added.

Stiles said it’s so refreshing now to see so many people, young and old, being respectful of the military. Especially women.

"But when I got out of the service in 1968, whether you were a man or a woman, you were not congratulated or thanked for your service. It was anything but," she said.

These women said it’s important to know what your benefits are as a veteran.

"I went ahead and got my medical card through the VA. It has helped me," Stiles said.

The women encourage any woman who has been in the military to seek out her benefits.

"Whether you served a day or 20 years, if you put on that uniform and you’re a woman, we wanted to celebrate you and just make you aware of what resources are available," Laganiere said.

Here are local women veteran resources.