The DAV of MN has partnered with the Minnesota Lynx, three time Women’s National Basketball Association Champions, to honor and highlight the service of woman veterans in the State of Minnesota with the “Homegrown Hero” program. “The Lynx have been an amazing partner and have been great at accommodating our needs and ideas for this program,” stated Stephen Whitehead, DAV of MN Department Adjutant and 4th National Jr. Vice. The program was created as an opportunity to provide public outreach and awareness of Minnesota’s women veteran population. Minnesota currently reports a population of 26,000 female veterans which is 7% of Minnesota’s 369,000 combined veteran population. During each home game of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, a woman veteran will be recognized at the game, as well as on MN Lynx social media outlets. Each veteran receives four tickets to the game with access to pre-game warm ups on court and recognition during the game. During a scheduled timeout, the veteran is brought to the center of the arena where they announce her biography and the DAV of MN’s commitment to honoring the service of Minnesota’s women veterans. The veteran is always met with an electric roaring response from the crowd. A Military Appreciation Night is scheduled in July where the DAV will be recognized as a Presenting Partner and will be given 200 tickets to give to women veterans and their family members for the event. There will also be an opportunity for 50 participants to visit a Lynx practice and breakfast.
With 17 home games, the DAV of MN staff took on the challenge of connecting with the female veteran community in order to find 17 veterans to be recognized. Past State Commander Greg Remus, and current member of the National Interim Women Veterans Committee along with Stephen Whitehead, DAV of MN Adjutant and 4th National Jr. Vice are constantly looking for ways to increase awareness of the role of women in our armed services, and a better understanding of the specific issues that they face after service. “This was an exciting opportunity that we couldn’t turn down,” stated Adjutant Whitehead, “We are trying to take a proactive ambitions approach to getting the word out to our female veterans and our MN communities that we are here working tirelessly to fulfill the promises to those who served.” The DAV of MN reached out to create new networks of ambitious women veterans in MN communities to assist with locating willing participants. This program would not be a success without the hard work of our women veteran volunteers who were committed to making this program a success. The DAV of MN recognizes and thanks the work of Jill Troutner of the Minnesota Women Veterans Initiative and Andrea Drost of the MN National Guard for assisting with this program.
Veteran pictures and bios can be viewed here