The Building of WMA Area 1
The foundation of the Women Marines Association (WMA) are her members. Our chapters are the mainstay that keep our members always connected.
Area 1 consists of CT, ME, MA, NH, NY, RI, VT, Europe, Middle East and Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia, Canada. We are pleased to have Jamie DePaola as the area director. Within Area 1 we currently have 2 chapters.
CT-1 NUTMEG CHAPTER. Located in the heart of CT the Nutmeg Chapter has found new purpose as they work to take care of our homeless women veterans. To learn more about the chapter you can contact Jennifer Jackson the chapter president.
Chapter email: [email protected]
MA-1 BAY STATE Located on the outskirts of Boston this chapter is working on revitalization. They are seeking new members who want to be active and enjoy the camaraderie of our sisterhood. Heidi Hurley is the chapter president. Drop her a note to get on their mail list.
chapter email: [email protected]
Wonderful Chapter meeting for MA Baystate-1, The Proud Massachusetts Marine MoMs invited our WMA Chapter to a lovely luncheon. Here we shared our history with them. March 2016
Area is currently working on building chapters in NY and CT. For more information you can contact Jamie DePaola at [email protected] Jamie would love to here from all of our Marine sisters in her area. Get on her mail list and she will assure you are aware of any events in your state. You can find Area 1 on Facebook.
Area 1 News
Submitted by Jamie B. DePaola
Area 1 Director, April 2017
Social media works! Without a Chapter in the state of New York, 29 sister Marines still came together along with a dozen other guests on Long Island to celebrate the 74th anniversary of women in the Corps at a luncheon held in Farmingdale, NY. The idea of a luncheon on Long Island was to fulfill a promise I made to the daughter of WWII Marine, Barbara Kruse. This event would not have happened if it were not for our sister Marine, StaceyAnn Castro, who I met through social media in November. Being a resident of Connecticut, I knew very little about Long Island, I asked my new Marine friend if she would be willing to help me host a luncheon.
Marines love a mission, so StaceyAnn and I partnered (without a face to face meeting until the day of the event) and successfully organized and hosted this spectacular and memorable day. We honored three WWII Marines –Barbara Kruse, Josephine Cerbelli, and Annabelle Weiss and presented them with the WWII victory medal and Special Congressional Recognition citations. Two of the three Marines were not aware they rated the WWII victory medal so it was emotional and heartwarming to celebrate these amazing veterans. We appreciate all the hard work by StaceyAnn who enlisted in the USMC in September 2001 and later deployed with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 as a Crash Fire Rescue Firefighter. We look for more great things to come from StaceyAnn!
One of Area 1’s primary missions this year has been to support and assist the female homeless veteran community. Every day I actively work to learn more about how we, as sister veterans, can help. Sadly, the list is endless but it’s a clear mission with great purpose, great reward; and I know as Marines, a mission we are called to support.
During the holidays, I was asked to write an article for an Army sister veteran for a local news station. This article was also shared with the WMA blog. It was about the “Profile of a Homeless Veteran” through my own eyes. I was asked to share a few excerpts:
“They came home from the military, and then became homeless. At a young age, they’ve done more and seen more in a lifetime. They put everything on the line with sharpened skills like no other. They were in-charge of the world and believed they could do anything to make our world safer. They were trained to be leaders and have courage and skills to take on whatever mission assigned to them. Compared to their military life, being around civilians and family can be too provincial. They’ve changed, but the rest of their family/friends have not. Emotionally, they don’t fit in. Nobody “gets” them. Their friends/family can’t accept who they’ve become as they are trying to adapt back to civilian life as they once knew. Their family/friends often wonder “what happened to them or what’s wrong with them?” They often become estranged from loved ones due to combat or non-combat PTSD, and many females due to MST that leads to PTSD. They have a difficult time relating to others at home. They cannot emotionally get the turmoil out of their heads and family/friends do not know how to help because they haven’t walked a day in their boots. Family/Friends may think they know how to help the veteran but they don’t. They want to “fix” their vet instead of embracing the new and changed person who is trying to come “home again.”
With the increase of females serving in the last two decades, the homeless female veteran population seems to be growing, but there are fewer services to help them at this point. Many are mothers and trying to protect their children in a safe and healthy environment. These women struggle with the same emotions listed above, but women don’t seek help until it’s often too late. Women know they are going to be facing the giants when they enter the military, both physically and emotionally. They know they must always try harder to meet the expectations. Since WWI, military women have evolved from clerks into combat-ready warriors with physical and emotional strength and skills that far outweigh that of other women. These female veterans are slow to ask for help — because they have always had to do it on their own and “carry their own pack.” They are looking for purpose and identity in their communities too; but they are seen by family and friends as too aggressive, too outspoken, too commanding, too decisive, too deliberate, …too everything. Women have changed significantly and successfully as they have fully integrated into all military occupations. The problem is, society has not prepared itself to welcome home this changed woman; even though they created her. She finds she is only comfortable with other veterans because nobody else gets her. “
Please take the time to connect with the homeless veteran shelters in your own state as well as your State’s Secretary of Veteran Affairs. This mission is real and current and they would appreciate your interest and help. If it were not for the WMA, I doubt I would have known about the need of our homeless veterans. StaceyAnn is helping in Long Island by promoting awareness of our homeless veterans by hosting a 5K run. CT-1 Chapter president, Jennifer Jackson, had her April Chapter meeting at a homeless shelter to bring awareness to her members but to also be supportive to our sister veterans. In May, we mustered in Rhode Island (with the help of our sister Carol Freitas) in support of the Holly Charette Home for homeless female veterans. Area 1 is in formation and on the move. Forward march, and step!
Those who unlock your compassion are those to whom you have been assigned.