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AAUW, MTSU groups pay special tribute to ‘Women Wa...

AAUW, MTSU groups pay special tribute to ‘Women Warriors’

Honorees at the inaugural Women Warriors Celebration, held Tuesday night, Nov. 5, on the MTSU campus, gather for a group photo. From left are Beverly Henley, Brittany Dinaso, Teresa Carter, Anita Herron, Tabatha Wadford and Marcia Rambert, who attended on behalf of Lesa Prime. AAUW-Murfreesboro and multiple MTSU organizations co-sponsored the event. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-Murfreesboro)

Despite comprising 17.8% of the armed forces, women continue to face obstacles both during their military service and after, and support systems have sometimes lagged.

This was something Beverly Groogan faced when she quickly transitioned from flight nurse to mom when returning home from deployment.

“I went from 100 mph to a stop. I was expected to be Mom again,” she said at the inaugural Women Warriors Celebration, held Tuesday night, Nov. 5, on the MTSU campus.

Beverly Groogan, the Women's Health coordinator and Maternity Care coordinator for the Veterans Administration Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, gives the keynote address during the inaugural Women Warriors Celebration, held Tuesday night, Nov. 5, on MTSU campus. AAUW-Murfreesboro and multiple MTSU organizations co-sponsored the event. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-Murfreesboro)

Beverly Groogan, women’s health coordinator and maternity care coordinator for the Veterans Administration Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, presents the keynote address during the inaugural Women Warriors Celebration, held Tuesday night, Nov. 5, on MTSU campus. AAUW-Murfreesboro and multiple MTSU organizations co-sponsored the event. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-Murfreesboro)

Groogan was the keynote speaker at the event organized by AAUW-Murfreesboro branch to celebrate women veterans.

L’Oreal Stephens, lecturer, Department of Communication Studies

L’Oreal Stephens

Event co-organizer L’Oreal Stephens said she was inspired to create the event in advance of Veterans Day after she learned about the needs of women veterans, according to an AAUW-Murfreesboro news release.

“We’re doing this to say ‘thank you for all you do,’” said Stephens, a lecturer in MTSU’s Department of Communication Studies.

The honorees were:

Anita L. Herron, who served for 27 years in the U.S. Army, the last five as Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Antioch High School.

Teresa Carter, an MTSU psychology/pre-medicine major who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Tabatha Wadford, an MTSU anthropology major who served in the U.S. Army as an all-source intelligence analyst.

Brittany Dinaso, a U.S. Army veteran who now is a practicing attorney in Murfreesboro.

Beverly Henley, a U.S. Air Force veteran who was named her squadron’s Airman of the Year in 1978 and her group’s Airman of the Year in 1979.

Lesa Prime, who served 21 1/2 years in the U.S. Air Force in security forces. Her award was accepted by Marcia F. Rambert.

Pictured are the honorees recognized at inaugural Women Warriors Celebration, held Tuesday night, Nov. 5, on MTSU campus. Shown, from left, are Beverly Henley, Brittany Dinaso, Teresa Carter, Anita Herron, Tabatha Wadford, and Marcia Rambert on behalf of Lesa Prime. AAUW-Murfreesboro and multiple MTSU organizations co-sponsored the event. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-Murfreesboro)

Honorees at the inaugural Women Warriors Celebration, held Tuesday night, Nov. 5, on the MTSU campus, gather for a group photo. From left are Beverly Henley, Brittany Dinaso, Teresa Carter, Anita Herron, Tabatha Wadford and Marcia Rambert, who attended on behalf of Lesa Prime. AAUW-Murfreesboro and multiple MTSU organizations co-sponsored the event. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-Murfreesboro)

Stephens said the honorees were saluted not only for their military service but also their continuing devotion to making life better for other people.

“These women are parents and students and spouses and employees and business owners, and they’re also giving back to their own communities after their military service,” Stephens said.

During her keynote, Groogan, who works as women’s health coordinator and maternity care coordinator for the Veterans Administration Tennessee Valley Healthcare System at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center, spoke about “moments frozen in time,” the AAUW release states.

She recounted the patients who left an impression on her during her service as a flight nurse during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She told stories of success and failure, miraculous recoveries and heart-wrenching losses on the battlefield.AAUW Mboro logo web

“Our goal was to keep him alive until he could say goodbye,” she said of a mortally wounded officer.

Her career with the U.S. Air Force wasn’t easy. They didn’t get the same reintegration or mental health support that returning military veterans get today.

She made the transition from battlefield medicine and back to her family many times from 2005 to 2013, spending one week to one month at a time deployed to war zones and escorting wounded soldiers from the battlefield to Germany and back stateside.

“It took me years to accept these stories as a part of my life and part of what makes me the person I am today,” Groogan said.

And even now the experiences of women veterans can differ greatly from their male counterparts, meaning their needs differ greatly too.

For many women warriors, they don’t know when and how to get the help they need.

Groogan said all they need to know is that she’s there for them at the York VA.

The event was hosted by the Murfreesboro chapter of the American Association of University Women and is sponsored by MTSU’s June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, the MTSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women, MTSU’s Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center and MTSU’s Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.

Organized in 1913, AAUW Murfreesboro is a membership organization of college-educated individuals from all walks of life who share a common purpose — to level the playing field for women and girls in education and in the workplace.

AAUW Murfreesboro


AAUW, MTSU groups to pay tribute to ‘Women Warriors’ Nov. 5

By Gina Logue, MTSU News (Published Nov. 1, 2019)

In advance of Veterans Day, several organizations are collaborating for a salute to women who have served in the armed forces.

“Women Warriors,” a tribute to six women who have served their country in the military, is slated for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the Sam H. Ingram Building, 2259 Middle Tennessee Blvd. in Murfreesboro.

Beverly Groogan, women’s health coordinator and maternity care coordinator for the Veterans Administration in Murfreesboro

Beverly Groogan

L’Oreal Stephens, lecturer, Department of Communication Studies

L’Oreal Stephens

The keynote speaker will be Beverly Groogan, the women’s health coordinator and maternity care coordinator at the Veterans Administration Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. Groogan is a registered nurse and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

“We’re doing this to say ‘thank you for all you do,’” said L’Oreal Stephens, a co-organizer of the event and a lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies.

Stephens said the honorees will be saluted not only for their military service but also their continuing devotion to making life better for other people.

“These women are parents and students and spouses and employees and business owners, and they’re also giving back to their own communities after their military service,” Stephens said.

The honorees will be:

Anita L. Herron, who served for 27 years in the U.S. Army, the last five as Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Antioch High School.

Teresa Carter, an MTSU psychology/pre-medicine major who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Tabatha Wadford, an MTSU anthropology major who served in the U.S. Army as an all-source intelligence analyst.

Brittany Dinaso, a U.S. Army veteran who now is a practicing attorney in Murfreesboro.

Beverly Henley, a U.S. Air Force veteran who was named her squadron’s Airman of the Year in 1978 and her group’s Airman of the Year in 1979.

Lesa Prime, who served 21 1/2 years in the U.S. Air Force in security forces. Her award will be accepted by Marcia F. Rambert.

The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are requested to register in advance at https://bit.ly/334oGwt​. Parking permits entitling attendees to park in the Ingram Building lot for free can be printed from that site. 

This event is hosted by the Murfreesboro chapter of the American Association of University Women and is sponsored by MTSU’s June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, the MTSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women, MTSU’s Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center and MTSU’s Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.

For more information, contact Stephens at 615-485-3632 or LOreal.Stephens@mtsu.edu.

— Gina Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)


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