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Local organization providing support and resources for women veterans

Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-11 18:26:46-05

Florida is home to the second-largest population of women veterans in the country. More than 164,000 call the sunshine state home.

A local group of women veterans have started their own support group to connect with other women who have served in the military.

"As soon as I went to the meeting, it just felt like home. It felt familiar," said Jamela Browne, a veteran that served in the United States Army from 2001 to 2004.

Ever since she got out of the military, she was never able to connect with other veterans.

Veteran Marine Kimberly Homer said she struggled with connecting with other veterans as well. "I really didn't have a support group until I joined Women Veterans unite," said Homer.

Women Veterans Unite is the only support group for women who have served in the military in Leon County. Their goal is to remind people that women are veterans too and to offer support and other resources to women who have served.

Rita Ann Schultz served in the United States Navy from 1974 to 1978. Schultz said being with other women who have served is unlike anything else. "There's a bond there that you won't find other places," said Schultz. "No matter what I mean you're just not going to find it."

Women Veterans Unite first started during the pandemic. After just two years of forming their group, they now have 115 local women veterans from all branches of the military involved.

"No matter what time it was, our experiences were very much similar so again just talking about those things, having a support group to talk about those things you know just makes it a lot easier because you have people that understand," said Browne.

Secretary of the group Karen Bauer is happy that the group has been able to help other women who served. "It's important for the women, because more women are going into the military, and they need resources and support that are specific to the issues for them," said Bauer.

Resources such as financial or housing assistance to job assistance or, as Air Force Veteran Beatrice Wolfe said, just someone talk to. "You talk about the camaraderie and being with other women who have been there, it's amazing."

Schultz said getting to know other women veterans has made a positive impact on her life. "It's been a real nice thing to have at this stage of life to have that connection back to part of our youth, our military," said Schultz.

Women Veterans Unite invites any woman who has served in the military to join its monthly meetings.