First Lady Michelle Obama Honors 14 Women Veterans as Champions of Change

Earlier this week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Joining Forces recognized 14 extraordinary women veterans as Champions of Change. The event, which took place at the White House, honored women veterans who have made a tremendous impact on our nation’s communities, businesses, and schools.

First Lady Michelle Obama Delivers Remarks Honoring Women's Veterans

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a Champions of Change event honoring women veterans, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, March 19, 2013. Mrs. Obama spoke to the group on behalf of her Joining Forces initiative. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Mrs. Obama spoke to the honorees and highlighted the need for companies to hire transitioning women veterans. “Right now, we have so many talented, highly skilled veterans who have so much to offer this country. And they're going to need that opportunity to make that happen,” said the First Lady. “We need that service operating here at home.”

Through Joining Forces, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden are determined to serve veterans and military families and make sure that they receive the benefits, support, and respect they have earned and deserve. The First Lady spoke to the incredible skills and hard work that women veterans possess and bring to every job they do:

“You are the leaders in our businesses and schools in our communities. You're mothers raising your kids with that same sense of honor that defines your own lives every single day. You're volunteers in your neighborhoods, on the PTA, your houses of worship, always finding ways to keep lifting folks up.

Long after you stop serving this country, you don’t stop serving it after you hang up your uniforms. And that’s something that we say all the time about our veterans. It's important for the nation to understand that you all keep working.”

The 14 women are truly the living embodiment of that spirit of service. Those honored include:

  1. Tia Christopher, United States Navy veteran, serves as Chief of Staff for the Farmer Veteran Coalition in Davis, CA
  2. Stacy L. Pearsall, a combat disabled Air Force veteran, plays a pivotal role in policy at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
  3. Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught, President of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation
  4. Kayla Williams, author of Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, current Truman National Security Project fellow and member of the Army Education Advisory Committee
  5. Natasha Young, United States Marine Corps veteran, a Fellowship Recruitment Associate at The Mission Continues
  6. Ginger Miller, Founder and CEO of Women Veterans Interactive
  7. Michelle Racicot MSN FNP-BC, a former Army Nurse Corp officer, a Family Nurse Practitioner at an Urgent Care Center in Albuquerque,
  8. Captain Glenna Tinney, Military Advocacy Program Coordinator for the Battered Women’s Justice Project, for the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women
  9. Dawn Halfaker, United States Military Academy Graduate and combat veteran, formed Halfaker and Associates and serves as President  of the Board of Directors for the Wounded Warriors Project
  10. Priscilla Mondt, Chaplain Mondt serves as Chief of Chaplain Service at Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  11. Sharie Derrickson, a disabled service-connected US Navy veteran, Vice President of New Wind Energy Solutions in Nashville, TN
  12. Marylyn Harris, a former Army Nurse and Disabled War Veteran, founded the nation’s first and only Women Veterans Business Center (WVBC) in Houston
  13. Becky Kanis, an Officer in the US Army, founding chair of Knights Out
  14. Marsha Four, a former Army nurse in Vietnam, founded a transitional housing residence for homeless vets.

CAPT Todd Veazie is Executive Director of Joining Forces in the Office of the First Lady.

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