Women’s Veterans Empowered and Thriving Steelstacks hosts nonprofit panel
Nov. 11 is a day we spend honoring our current and former Armed Service members in many different ways. This past Veterans Day, Jenny Pacanowski, U.S. Army, founder and director of the nonprofit Women Veterans Empowered and Thriving, did so by hosting a featured panel of women veterans sharing stories, experiences, and challenges faced during deployment and after returning home.
The panel was held at the ArtsQuest Center at Steelstacks and featured 3 women, Pacanowski, Corinna Louise Brown, U.S. Army, and Cheryl G. Ites, U.S. Marine Corps. The Q&A panel was hosted by veteran Tammy Barlet, U.S. Coast Guard, featuring questions regarding the transition home, women in combat roles, advice for other military women, and more. Barlet opened the discussion with a few shocking statistics about the greater likelihood of homelessness and suicide in women veterans compared to civilian women. Each woman gave powerful statements about her experiences, unique successes and challenges, and the vital importance of programming to aid veterans with the transition home.
Before the panel discussion was a screening of the movie Blood Stripe, staring Kate Nowlin and directed by Remy Auberjonois. Hand-picked by Pacanowski, the movie centers around a U.S. Marine who has just returned home from her third tour in Afghanistan. Struggling with the transition home and a mix of symptoms brought on by PTSD, she tries to seek refuge.
Events of the night were presented by Embassy Bank and Phoebe Ministries in partnership with Women Veterans Empowered and Thriving, Lehigh University Veterans Association, and ArtsQuest. One of the goals of Pacanowski’s nonprofit is to ease the transition from military to civilian life through ways such as creativity, storytelling, and empowerment. “We are told ‘Thank you for your service’ but I’m not done” notes Barlet as she and the other panelists explained their new roles of helping newly transitioning women veterans reconnect with their family, friends, and themselves.