Prince George’s Co. declares Women Veterans Week

When you hear someone mentioning a military veteran, do you assume the person is speaking about a man? Officials in Prince George’s County, Maryland, want to change that by declaring March 21 through 25 the first Women Veterans Week.

“I absolutely love it. It’s about time,” said Lisa Williams, who served in the U.S. Navy for four years at the alcohol and drug program at the Anacostia Naval Support Facility in D.C.

“So, thanks to County Executive Angela Alsobrooks for this proclamation recognizing Women Veterans Week.”

County Executive Alsobrooks (center) poses with women veterans receiving a copy of the Prince George’s County proclamation of Women Veterans Week. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Williams was among the veterans attending Tuesday’s proclamation ceremony. She is also chairwoman of the Prince George’s County Commission for Veterans.

After the ceremony, Williams told WTOP how, as a former service member, she can sometimes feel invisible.

“I’ve actually had situations, one at work, where a supervisor said, ‘Well, you don’t look like you would have served.’” Williams recalled. “And I asked her, ‘Well, what does that mean exactly?’ She couldn’t really answer me.”

“I’ve also had someone say, ‘Oh … was your husband in the Navy?’ And I said, ‘No, I am the veteran. But thank you.’ So yes, there’s a little bit of that, where we’re somewhat invisible,” she said.

Lt. Commander LaShonda Holmes was the first Black female helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Prince George’s County has the largest veteran population in Maryland, with approximately 60,000 veterans. More than 10,000 women represent almost 17% of the county’s veteran population.

Asked what she’d like people to know, Williams said: “The message is: Women in the military, women veterans, we see you, we recognize you, we appreciate you. You are some bad women, just like the county executive said.”

In 2019, Prince George’s County became the first county in Maryland to open an Office of Veterans Affairs.

(Left to right) Penny Collins is a Commissioner with the Maryland Veterans Commission and served 34 years in the Coast Guard, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and the first Black female helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard Lt. Commander LaShonda Holmes. (WTOP/Kristi King)

The county’s Military Women Veterans Center, in collaboration with the Prince George’s County Commission for Veterans and the Office of Veterans Affairs, helps women veterans and active-duty members, reservists and members of the National Guard living in Prince George’s County with resources and services.

You can learn more about the Prince George’s Office of Veterans Affairs and the Military Women Veterans Center on the county’s Department of Family Services website.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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