Photo shoot designed to highlight women veterans

Female veterans recognized during photo shoot

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — “I Am Not Invisible,” started by the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs, is a unique campaign to increase the visibility of women veterans across the state.

Up to 100 local women came to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1587 to take part in a photo shoot with a professional photographer.

U.S Air Force veteran Christine Hurley told News 8 she’s from Monticello and wanted to come out to network with other women.

“I came from a small town, kind of a poor family, and it was a way to get out of the small town and it was a way to better myself and see new places meet other folks,” Hurley said.

Many women came from different background and generations but said one thing they have in common is wanting the recognition they deserve. Karen McAndrews, a U.S Coast Guard veteran, said it doesn’t always happen.

“When they see that I’m wearing my Coast Guard hat or my Coast Guard — I’ve got a Coast Guard plate on my car — and they’d say, ‘Oh, did your husband serve?’ Why don’t they automatically assume that I served?” McAndrews said.

The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs said they’re 32,000 women veterans in Indiana. The campaign offered information about health care benefits and how to file an injury claim.

“A lot of women don’t realize, one, that they’re veterans because they didn’t do anything when they served, and by ‘doing something’ I mean by serving in combat, but they are eligible for disability, claims, things like that,” said Sheila Corcoran, state membership director for the VFW.

Many women told News 8 they attended the event to share their experiences and would like others to know women also serve or served this country, too.

“We’re out there, and you may not know the woman next to you is a veteran. I mean we’re in some ways unassuming but yet we’re there,” Hurley said.

The photos taken will be featured on the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs website and will be displayed at the Statehouse.