By Tiffany Koehler, Women Veterans Program State Coordinator
As the coordinator of the Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs’ (WDVA) Women Veterans Program, and as a U.S. Army veteran, I’ve been traveling the state engaging women veterans in almost every community to offer them support as we build a larger network. I’ve also worked closely with members of our team who are traveling the nation to connect with service members transitioning to civilian life and educating them on why Wisconsin is the best place to live, study, work and unwind.
With the most benefits out of any state, Wisconsin leads the nation in its offerings to veterans and their families. The Badger State is also at the forefront of offering support to the nation’s fastest growing group of veterans—women.
The WDVA’s Women Veterans Program provides advocacy for women veterans in a variety of ways: contact, outreach, collaborative efforts and programs. It highlights women veterans’ contributions to Wisconsin and to the nation, and works to give them a stronger platform and voice in our community.
The goal of the Women Veterans Program is to directly address the needs of women veterans living in Wisconsin. We’ve been doing that by providing advocacy, recognition of women veterans’ contributions to our state and nation and outreach opportunities for women veterans’ programs and issues.
Earlier this year we held a Women Veterans Retreat in Eau Claire. It was not only a chance for women veterans to network with others who served their country; it was an opportunity for us to talk and learn about issues women veterans face.
In August, we joined Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch at the Wisconsin State Fair as we honored and recognized some great things women veterans are doing around our state.
In September at the WDVA’s annual conference, we recognized the great contributions of Marine Corps veteran Kim Graff, who was named the 2018 Woman Veteran of the Year for her work to help women veterans, in addition to the work she’s been doing to protect the rights of military families. She is just one example of a woman veteran doing incredible things in our Wisconsin community. Recognizing contributions such as hers is important for us to keep moving forward with our work of empowering woman veterans.
While I was born and raised in the Milwaukee area, I lived in other states during my years of service. I was always thrilled to come back to Wisconsin. With our Women Veterans Program, there are more opportunities than ever for us, and it’s my honor to lead in empowering the tens of thousands of women veterans living in our great state, and to share our story with transitioning veterans outside Wisconsin looking for the best place to pursue their career and personal passions.
We have so many great things going on in Wisconsin; whether it’s the offerings to veterans and their families, the amazing scenery, the awesome events taking place almost every weekend, our great education system or just having such a strong support system.
For more information on the Women Veterans Program, visit WisVetsWomen.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information on the many benefits of post-military life in Wisconsin, visit InWisconsin.com/veterans.