COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – The National Infantry Museum hosted a recent screening of an important new documentary about women veterans called "Served Like a Girl".
One of those who served, is Nicole Alred, a Columbus native and combat veteran who hopes her part in the documentary raises awareness of the challenges faced by thousands of veterans who happen to be female.
Alred was featured in "Served Like a Girl", having been a sergeant in the third infantry in Iraq.
She was also a finalist in the annual "Ms. Veteran America" pageant, designed to acknowledge that women veterans are more than soldiers, they're mothers, wives, and sisters, too.
One of the fundraising beneficiaries of the pageant and the focus of the film is homeless female veterans, the fastest growing demographic when it comes to the homeless in America.
Proceeds from the pageant go to a group called "final salute", which tries to count, track and help homeless women veterans and their children.
Every veteran is important, of course.
But the advocacy group "final salute" says about half of the 55,000 homeless women veterans are also single mothers. Their difficulties have a ripple effect on children and other relatives. These veterans who must now fight financial insecurity, unstable housing and perhaps medical challenges deserve the same respect and priority as their male counterparts.
Because "final salute" claims many women veterans, perhaps as many as 82 percent, do not use the veteran's administration for health benefits, it can be challenging to know just how many of them are actually without a home.
No matter how this important group of veterans gets help, whether, from a documentary, or a beauty pageant or other veterans outreach, it is vitally important for us to know that this group exists and that thousands of women veterans need our help after they serve.
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