Pennsylvania Honors Women Veterans on Women Veterans Day

Women Veterans DayCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — On Thursday, Governor Josh Shapiro, together with the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Women and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, recognized women veterans in Pennsylvania in celebration of Women Veterans Day. Seventeen outstanding women from across the Commonwealth were honored for their brave service and selfless contributions to both Pennsylvania and the nation.

“There are nearly 71,000 women veterans in Pennsylvania who have answered the call to serve their country – and yet too often the stories of our women veterans go untold,” said Governor Shapiro. He emphasized that all Pennsylvanians owe a debt of gratitude to these veterans who have defended our freedoms. “I am proud to join the Women’s Commission to honor our women veterans and to recognize today’s honorees for their bravery and continued service to our Commonwealth,” he added.

Moriah Hathaway, Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Women, pointed out the unique challenges faced by women veterans. “Every year, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Women recognizes outstanding women who have served in every branch of the military. It is a true honor to award these selfless women for their bravery and dedication to our nation. Women veterans face a unique set of challenges and deserve to have their own day,” Hathaway said. She highlighted the incredible contributions of the 17 honorees, noting that they continue to give back to their communities and the Commonwealth.

Brigadier General (PA) Maureen Weigl, Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs, noted the growing demographic of women veterans. “Women are the fastest growing demographic group of veterans in Pennsylvania and the country,” Weigl said. She stressed the importance of ensuring all women veterans have access to the care and benefits they have earned, regardless of where they live in the Commonwealth.

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The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Women was established by Governor Josh Shapiro in June 2023. The Commission is committed to cultivating a workforce that empowers women, creating a safer Commonwealth, improving women’s health and wellbeing, and supporting women as they age. Annually, the Commission honors women veterans to recognize their contributions to the nation and the Commonwealth.

The 2024 honorees are a diverse group, representing various branches of the military and counties within Pennsylvania. They include:

  • Celeste Brucklacher from Lycoming County,
  • Misty Callahan from Fayette County,
  • Paula E. Crawford-Gamble from Berks County,
  • Cheryl Foreman Grosso from Delaware County,
  • Tina Hopper from Erie County,
  • Linda Ann Lehman from Dauphin County,
  • Jessica Purdy from Lancaster County,
  • Nicole Reigelman from Cumberland County,
  • Maria C. Rodriguez from Lancaster County,
  • Jill Smallwood from Allegheny County,
  • Sandra Soloski from Allegheny County,
  • Dorey Stabile from Westmoreland County,
  • Kandra Marie Strothers from Allegheny County,
  • Cynthia A Thorton-Landis from Montgomery County,
  • Denise VanSickle from Carbon County,
  • Jessica Wisniewski-Hagen from Philadelphia County, and
  • Virginia York from Susquehanna County.
Honoring Women Veterans: Recognizing Their Valor and Resilience

This recognition is significant as it brings attention to the contributions and sacrifices of women veterans. It also highlights the need for continued support and resources tailored to their unique experiences. Women veterans often face distinct challenges, including access to healthcare, employment opportunities, and recognition of their service. By honoring these women, the state acknowledges their vital role and sets an example for other states to follow.

The implications of this recognition extend beyond mere acknowledgment. It can inspire policy changes and increased funding for programs that support women veterans. Such initiatives not only benefit the veterans themselves but also enrich the communities they serve. As more attention is given to the stories and needs of women veterans, it paves the way for a more inclusive and supportive environment for all who have served.

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Honoring women veterans on this dedicated day ensures their stories are told and their contributions are remembered. This annual event serves as a powerful reminder of the strength and resilience of women who have worn the uniform, and it reinforces the state’s commitment to supporting its veterans in meaningful ways.

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