BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Joining Forces: Women Veterans Speak Out – From One Woman Veteran to Another

Posted by danielleac on December 19, 2011

Read the latest article of BPW Foundation’s every-other-week Joining Forces feature that brings us the voices of women veterans telling their stories.  If you are a women veteran who would like to share your story, please contact us through our Joining Forces for Women Veterans Facebook page, or email dcorazza@bpwfoundation.org.

Introduction: Years ago, BPW Foundation realized that newly-minted women veterans were faltering, missing crucial steps during the transition process from military service to civilian life. Research into the topic uncovered the startling fact that the transition process was not a linear process, nor did it follow a specific timeline. In an effort to be proactive in addressing these stumbling blocks, BPW Foundation developed the Dear Jane campaign, a collection of letters from women veterans back to active-duty women who were getting ready to leave the military. Although the active campaign is over, we still collect these insights and publish as visibly as possible in order to continue connecting the dots. Below is the latest submission.


Welcome Home!

by Lisa DeBerardinis

Dear Jane,

I am a Proud United States Navy Veteran – Seabee, I served from 1981-1988.

I salute you, The New Greatest Generation, and members of the best armed forces in the world!

There are many things I would have done differently after leaving the Navy.

I wish that I wouldn’t have kept a “gotta be tough” attitude for so long. I wandered through this civilian world from that time until about two years ago, when I’d finally had enough and reached out to VA for help. So being “tough” means advocating for yourself.

Like many of you might, I returned home and found myself a single parent, I struggled with depression which was recently found to be a result of MST. I’ve experienced periods of homelessness, although I am blessed that my periods of homelessness meant staying with this friend or that, traveling from here to there hoping things would change.

This letter does not specifically address how to deal with every issue that we face, there are too many! I finally have found my niche (it only took 23 years! 🙂 serving the people I care about most, my fellow Veterans, especially my Sisters.

My advice is too please not wait to seek any assistance or help that you need! Advocate for yourself. Should you have any questions, need assistance/guidance on how to utilize the VA, and what we have available, PLEASE DON’T HESITATE to contact me! Sometimes, unfortunately, the VA can be baffling and frustrating but I will try to answer your questions or at least know where to direct you to get what you need. Our system is Nationwide, so it’s not a problem wherever you are. I hope to hear from you. I have all the respect you.

And can’t wait to say WELCOME HOME!

Respectfully,

Lisa DeBerardinis

Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist

Compensated Work Therapy TVHA- York Campus

Lisa.DeBerardinis@va.gov

Ph: 615-225-3926/615-427-5215

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3 Responses to “Joining Forces: Women Veterans Speak Out – From One Woman Veteran to Another”

  1. Darrel L. Huffman said

    Well said!

  2. Scott Valler said

    Lisa, We all have a difficult time transitioning from long term military life to civilian. Often drinking and depression is the result. I was fortunate to have stopped before discharge. Last year you pointed me in the right direction back to the VA for medical problems which turned out to be stage 3 COPD. I would have ignored it but for you.
    I was always proud to say I served my last tour with you and we managed to stay in touch. You have pulled yourself up and now are in the position to help others. ” Can Do ” Lisa
    P.S. Use your VA. They will help

  3. Regina Powell - Veterans Day Should Be Everyday in Prince George's County." said

    I am grateful for this means of communication. But most of all “Sisters Helping Sisters in so many ways to transition from Soldiers to Veterans. “God place Angels in your paths for reasons, not seasons.

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