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West Virginia Wesleyan College students Lindsey Pratt and Christie Depoy, a veteran herself, discuss the fair at Buckhannon City Council recently.

Fair focused on female veterans hopes to offer resources, foster connections between women who have served

BUCKHANNON – An upcoming Women Veterans Resource fair looks to raise awareness for services available to female veterans.

The resource fair will take place Saturday, Nov. 23 at the American Legion building at 16 S. Kanawha St. in Buckhannon. It begins at 10 a.m. and will wrap up at 3 p.m.

West Virginia Wesleyan students Christie Depoy, a veteran herself, and classmate Lindsey Pratt organized the resource fair for a project management class, but Depoy said this was something she’s been hoping to coordinate for quite some time.

“When I moved back here a year ago, I joined the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) with my dad, because I’m a veteran myself, and I was approached by Ron Fowler, who is with the DAV to put together something for women veterans,” Depoy said. “They don’t really have a lot of things for them here, so whenever I took project management, and they wanted people to come up with ideas for projects, I knew I could kill two birds with one stone, do the project and then also learn how to set up projects with the direction of the class.”

Depoy said so far, they have 11 organizations attending the resource fair, including the Women’s Health Clinic from the VA, the Vet Center, WVU Medicine St. Joseph’s Hospital, the DAV, American Legion Post 7, VFW Post 3663 and Women’s Aid in Crisis.

Topics covered will include recovery from military sexual trauma; suicide prevention and awareness; VA enrollment and eligibility; a variety of health issues and much more.

“We just wanted to get a little bit of variety because in the past, it’s been mostly about male veterans, and everything is more catered to them,” Depoy said. “Now that things are becoming more catered for women veterans, we want to make sure those who may have missed that have a chance to find out what they have available now.”

Pratt said she partnered with Depoy on this project because she saw how important it is for women veterans to know what resources are available to them.

“I think it’s really important for women veterans to understand what resources they have, especially when they get out of the military,” Pratt said. “Also just finding out how many resources there are, because it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of resources for women veterans, which is something that I hope this project will change in the future.”

The resource fair will have all the organizations at their own tables, and veterans can go to whichever table features information that might be of interest to them.

“There’s not that many women veterans in Upshur County that I know, but I hope maybe surrounding counties will be inspired by us doing this and maybe they will start something,” Depoy said. “They have a lot more things for men, and I know there’s more of them, but I feel like we served too, so we should have the same benefits.”

Depoy said she hopes this event also leads to women veterans having their own community.

“I would like to see us get to know each other and come together as a group, because I’ve watched my dad and the older veterans, the guys, and they all know each other,” Depoy said. “Women veterans, we don’t really know who else is out there, and it would be nice to have our own little group to support each other.”

Depoy asked veterans to bring their DD214 form with them to the event and to call her at 501-766-5089 with any other questions.

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