PVA’s 2021 Women Veterans Empowerment RetreatPosted By PVA Admin on October 5, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C., (Oct. 5, 2021) — According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, women veterans make up nearly 2 million of the U.S. population, of which 10 percent are disabled. Despite being the fastest-growing Veteran population, many of these women often feel isolated, forgotten, and pushed aside. To address these feelings and help them navigate the unique challenges they face, Paralyzed Veterans of America recently wrapped up its 2021 Women Veterans Empowerment Retreat. Thirty-five female veterans from across the U.S. – most of whom have an array of disabilities – convened last week in Tempe, Ariz., for an all-expense-paid community-building experience from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3.
“PVA’s Women Veterans Empowerment Retreat is so much than an event – it is a game-changer,” said Tammy Jones, PVA National Vice President. “Bringing women together from different walks of life and giving them a platform to share their experiences, while also equipping them with resources that address their specific needs, is invaluable.”
Unlike PVA’s 2019 Retreat, which centered on adaptive sports, this year’s event focuses more on the whole health of women veterans. From holistic health sessions and creative writing exercises to entrepreneurship workshops and adaptive exercise stations, the Retreat touches on the attendees’ physical, emotional, and mental well-being. PVA kicked off the Retreat with a drumming circle and included the gifting each attendee with a Women of Valor Lapel Pin, courtesy of former U.S. Army Surgeon General and retired Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho – who also shared a message of support.
“Before we were sisters in arms and injured or diagnosed with spinal cord-related disabilities – we were women first,” Jones added. “And as women, we must stick together and take care of each other. Our Women Veterans Empowerment Retreat was created for women by women to help injured women veterans, like me, use their voices to go after everything they deserve from their benefits and specialized care to all aspects of their everyday life.”
Jones, who suffered a broken neck following a car accident one year after joining the U.S. Air Force, has dedicated her life to giving back to veterans and was actively involved in planning the Retreat alongside
Anne Robinson, the past President/National Director of the PVA Texas Chapter. Robinson was medically retired from the U.S. Army after becoming paralyzed in a military vehicle accident and is now a PVA advocate. The mother of two recently took on the Texas legislature and lobbied for a change in accessible parking – and won.
Among some of the remarkable 2021 Retreat speakers are PVA member/U.S. Army Veteran Twila Adams, who was injured in a car accident three years after transitioning into civilian life. She is now a multi-sport competitive athlete and slated to talk with attendees about the healing power of reiki. Also speaking is U.S. Army Veteran Lauren Mullen, who works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will share with participants how they can apply their military skills and lessons they’ve learned to thrive in a civilian world.
This year’s Women Veterans Empowerment Retreat is sponsored by Bristol Myers Squibb with assistance from First Nation Group, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, OptumServe, and Adidas. To learn more about the Retreat and the unique issues women veterans face, as well as how PVA is helping ensure their voices are heard, visit PVA.org/WomenVeterans.