For the month of March, women are celebrated all over the world and recognized for all the accomplishments and contributions they have done in the past and present. March is dedicated to every woman for their everyday accomplishments, from being a leader to being a mother and taking care of her family. It is also the month where female Veterans are recognized for their accomplishments while serving.
PCC and the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) celebrated Women’s History Month this March with a Women’s Veterans display in the Shatford Library to bring recognition to women veterans who have served and now attend PCC. The VRC currently has over 250 female veterans and this display shines light on their stories.
Veteran Center Specialist Carol M. Calandra, was in charge of the Women Veteran’s display and had these featured women share their story, in acknowledgment and appreciation.
“They really are the invisible veteran. They don’t get the credit they deserve for serving in the military,” said Calandra. “We at the VRC wanted to honor and celebrate them and let them know that we appreciate the time that they’ve served in the military.”
Alisa McClamroch, Army veteran, served for over just 4 years. Today she is now a student at PCC majoring in Economics. While in the army she was a radar technician, which is responsible for radar equipment and monitoring and tracking movements while also running and fixing equipment and having them ready to go.
For McClamroch being a Radar Technician had its good and bad days. On good days things were not broken and there was not much to do. On bad days however, whenever something was broken, she was on the clock with the rest of her team until the item was fixed. Some days there would even be 24 hour shifts until it was fixed and ready to go.
Despite the bad days, McClamroch always enjoyed her job and she even found it “fun” at the end of the day.
“It’s kind of fun because you get to problem solve,” said McClamroch. “It’s rewarding when you get to fix something that’s been driving you crazy for days.”
Another veteran is Lisa Foster. She served in the Navy as a Culinary specialist. While in the navy she was five years active and two years in the reserve. Today, she is majoring in Nutrition, works at the Veterans Resource Center and is a full time Mom.
Ericka Sanchez served in the United States Marine Corps and was a Maintenance Management Specialist with the 6th Squad Security Company in Fallujah, Iraq. Four years active and three years in the reserve, she is now majoring in Nursing at PCC and works at the VRC at the front desk.
For Sanchez, the military was something that was always familiar to her and has known the majority of her life. Her brother served in the marines and her grandfather served in the Airforce. Sanchez enlisted in the Marines just before her Senior Year of high school.
“It wasn’t expected of me to do it, but it was just always something that intrigued me” said Sanchez.
Transitioning back in to the civilian world, many veterans struggle to adapt and get out of their normal routine. There are also others who adapt easily, but still take time to get used to the world outside of the military.
“I struggled a lot. I couldn’t be around all these people. It was definitely a struggle and a lot of us deal with it differently,” said Sanchez. “Me, I just sort of stayed away from everybody.”
For Foster, it was just getting used to her life of the norm in the Navy and into the norm of civilian life.
“The only thing that was different for me was how relaxed civilian life is. I was still in like ‘yes sir, no sir’ mode when I got out,” said Foster.
Many Veterans at PCC find the VRC a place for comfort. Here they can relate to others who have been in the same situations and know what they have gone through. It is also a place where they can work on homework and help one another.
“There’s a lot of people here who are good at different things. Some of them are really good at English and help you out if you’re writing a paper. Some other guys are really good at Math so they’ll help you out, so that’s really cool,” said McClamroch.
For others, being in the VRC has changed their lives.
“It’s definitely changed my life for the better. I’m a lot more social than I was three years ago,” said Sanchez. “Coming here was actually really good for me. It gave me a goal and something to focus on.”
For every women who served in the military, each has had different reasons and purposes for joining. No matter what the reason, these women not only represent every woman in the world, but have taken a stand to represent our country as a whole. And for that, these female veterans should be celebrated not only in the month of March, but every day for their time in the service.