• Leigh Gerstenberger

Women of Valor




Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to know a number of women who have served in our country’s Armed Forces. My two sisters-in-law served in the Pennsylvania National Guard and had multiple deployments to the middle east. Among their many accomplishment they were some of the first women in the Army to complete Airborne Jump School Training and receive their paratrooper wings. A second, year-long deployment resulted in one of them missing her son’s high school graduation.


We have a neighbor and friend from church who served as an Army nurse during the Vietnam era and ended her service to the country as a full-bird colonel.


More recently I had the opportunity to visit over lunch with a distant relative, my cousin Pat, who retired from the US Navy as a commander with over 20 years of service. Today she spends a good deal of her time in retirement speaking on behalf of our country’s military to groups of high school students; especially young women about the opportunities afforded them by serving in the military.


Additionally, Pat is involved in a several organizations that honor women who have served in our armed forces. One such organization, the Military Women’s Memorial is dedicated to honoring and telling the stories of women, past and present who serve our nation.


If you know of a woman who has served in our Armed Forces consider registering her service in the memorial’s one-of-a-kind interactive database to record and preserve the record of her service by submitting her service information, photographs and/or memorable experiences from her time serving our country to preserve it for all time.


You might also consider giving your service woman a recently released Women of Valor lapel pin to honor her for her service.


Designed by Ann Hand with humble gratitude for the courageous women who have served or are currently serving our great nation, the Women of Valor pin resembles a forget-me-not flower. It features purple petals representing the combined military brand colors symbolizing joint services. The pin can be worn proudly in remembrance and recognition of the heroic service of all our military women.


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