Montezuma County passed a proclamation Friday to honor Women Veterans Day June 12.
During a ceremony at the county commissioners meeting room, women veterans gathered to hear the proclamation be read, take photos, and talk about their military service. The Star Spangled Banner was played, and the Pledge of Allegiance, recited.
More than 100 women veterans are in Montezuma County, officials said.
They are not as well known as the men, but should be, said organizer Darla Sanders, who served in the Air Force from 1976 to 1999 and worked on aircraft maintenance.
“Women don’t talk about their military service as much. When they come home, they blend right back into society and contribute,” she said. “People need to know how important women efforts are serving the country. I’ve had a veteran shirt or hat on, and people assume I’m the wife of a veteran.”
The state of Colorado does not officially recognize Women Veterans Day as a holiday, said veteran Christine Dorcheus, so having Montezuma County officially observe it is meaningful.
“We saw that women veterans were not getting enough recognition in this county, and took action. We hope other counties and the state will follow Montezuma County’s lead,” said Dorcheus, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1980 to 1995 and worked as a government contractor.
“We love our country and are ready to serve,” said veteran Carol Hand, who served in the Army from 1976-81, and worked as a combat area radar repair technician. “It is nice to have a county proclamation recognizing us.”
Confidence, discipline, stamina and hard work are values Hand learned during her military service.
“Woman are just as capable as men, and we are proof of that,” she said. “The military is a great education benefit, and you get to travel the world.”
Joining the military is also a solid career opportunity for women, Dorcheus said.
“We want to show women self-empowerment, that they can get control of life and go into military,” she said. “It is a good career foundation and built my confidence up.”
“On behalf of county, thank you for your service, and everything you stand for and have done for us so we can enjoy our freedom. It means a great deal,” said commissioner Jim Candelaria.