A new veterans group has formed in Cortez.
The Four Corners Chapter of Women Veterans of America is located at 422 North Broadway.
So far, there are 20 members in Chapter 54, and more are invited to join, said Commander Darla Sanders, who had a 23-year career with the U.S. Air Force.
It is estimated there are about 200 women veterans in Montezuma County.
The goal is to provide support for current or former female members of the military and to advocate for women veteran rights, issues and benefits.
It is the first Women Veterans of America Chapter in Colorado and in the Four Corners, Sanders said.
“We want to let everyone know we are here,” she said. “The other veterans groups do a great job, but we saw a need for this. A lot of women vets feel more comfortable around each other.”
The idea gained momentum after a Montezuma County issued a proclamation and hosted an event honoring women veterans in June.
The new chapter will assist veterans at no charge, such as helping them obtain veteran benefits, housing, food, job training and counseling. The chapter will stock a food pantry for distribution to women in need.
Many women veterans have suffered trauma from assaults while serving in the military, Sanders said, and the WVA has support services to help survivors.
The chapter is eager to become involved in the community, she added, such as hosting patriotic events, volunteering, providing education, companionship and fundraising.
The Four Corners WVA Chapter has hit the ground running.
In their first fundraising campaign, they raised more than $1,000, which was donated to Renew Inc. Renew provides assistance for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and runs a secure safe house.
“The amazing work they do aligns with our mission and goals,” Sanders said.
The unexpected funding is much appreciated, said Renew Director Tracy Blagg, and will be used to help remodel the kitchen at the Renew safe house.
Additional information on the Four Corners WVA chapter meetings and events will be available soon. The group plans to host a grand opening and will start a Facebook page.
To join, contact Darla Sanders or Leslie Orr at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.