Friday, March 1, 2013

Mid-Winter Topic: Plight of Women Vets

Verna Jones
Verna Jones
By Dorolyn Perry
NY American Legion Press Association

Women veterans deserve the same benefits as their male counterparts, and more needs to be done for the homeless woman vet and the wounded female warrior. That was the message that Verna Jones brought to the Auxiliary's Mid-Winter Conference, held Jan. 25-26 in Albany. Jones is director of the American Legion National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission.

"We serve our national heroes," Jones said. Homeless veterans' numbers are declining, she noted; however, there are sad cases of women veterans living in cars with children. This problem needs to be solved, she said.

According to a 2010 Women Veteran survey concerning the quality of care in VA Hospitals, problems are now being addressed. Examing tablels were moved away from the entry doors for more privacy. Military sexual trauma is real. Programs need to be developed to address this problem. Separate waiting areas for women veterans has been suggested. Women veterans have different needs than male veterans. The VA has recognized this. "We need to teach women" to walk with prosthesis and still be a woman, she said.

Her goal for the commission is to have all VA regional office claims completed within 90 days.

 Jones served as a personnel sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1995. She is a dual member of the American Legion Post 55 in Winston Salem, NC.