VA Hospital honors women veterans with public program

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COLUMBIA - In honor of Women's History Month, the Harry S. Truman Memorial Verterans' Hospital is recognizing the achievements of local women veterans at a public program Friday.

Women Veterans Program Manager Cindy Stivers said this event is personal for her.

"As a woman veteran myself, I see that as women we have many different hats that we wear," Stivers said. "Sometimes we are wearing the mother, the caregiver, or a student hat, and sometimes our military hat is put to the side. So it's time to bring that hat back out and be recognized for our service."

The VA Hospital, along with the Columbia Vet Center, is hosting the program at noon in the Truman VA auditorium. Memorabilia items, such as uniforms, photographs, and flags, from local veterans will be on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Stivers said women are the fastest growing component of the veteran population.

"Back in World War II, women only made about two percent of the military force," she said. "Now they're making up about 14 to 18 percent of the military force."

The event's featured speaker will be Sharon Grant, a local veteran who served in the Women's Army Corps.

"She's a wonderful woman veteran," Stivers said. "Sharon is a Vietnam veteran. She has also had the privilege to do the honor flight to Washington D.C."

Stivers said several veteran service organizations, including the Missouri Veterans Commission, will attend Friday's program.

"There will be information, not only about the VA Hospital for women veterans, but also all these different veteran organizations and different community resources for our women veterans to recognize their service to our country," she said.

Stivers said she hopes the event will bring the community together.

"This is a great opportunity to mingle and to hear the stories and hear their accomplishments that they've done," Stivers said.