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Vienna Woman’s Club Supports Homeless Female Veterans

Club fundraises on behalf of Final Salute, Inc.

Final Salute, Inc. Executive Director Gale Paige and her daughter Jackie attended the Vienna Woman’s Club shop-at-home fundraiser for Final Salute.

Final Salute, Inc. Executive Director Gale Paige and her daughter Jackie attended the Vienna Woman’s Club shop-at-home fundraiser for Final Salute.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates there are more than 13,000 homeless female veterans living in the United States; half of them are single mothers. Only about half of the 500 transitional housing programs accept women. These homeless female veterans have fewer resources than male veterans do.

Final Salute, Inc., headquartered in Alexandria, was established in 2010 by a woman veteran and cancer survivor who wanted to address the “unique” needs of homeless female veterans and their children. The full-volunteer nonprofit supports homeless female veterans with housing support and interest-free loans for rent payments.

It’s not surprising that the Vienna Woman’s Club [VWC], whose community outreach extends to local students, shelter pets and psychologically-wounded warriors, would turn its attention to supporting—and fundraising on behalf of—Final Salute, Inc.

On April 18, at the home of VWC President Diane Abel, the club sponsored a fundraiser, an in-home shopping bazaar backed by several locally-owned small businesses. Silpada Jewelry, Kokoon clothing, Celebrating Home kitchenware, Gigi Hill bag designs and author Pat Britz donated 15 percent of sales proceeds to the Vienna Woman’s Club on behalf of Final Salute, Inc. Skinfinity of Vienna donated three $50 gift certificates for the raffle.

Final Salute, Inc. Executive Director Gale Paige and her daughter Jackie attended the fundraiser. Paige herself is a veteran.

“We cannot let our veterans down,” said VWC member Vallie Ragde. “If the government lets them down, we have to step up. We have to take care of these people. We owe them something for what they’ve done. They deserve our support.”

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Vienna Woman’s Club members Jo Ann Kostkan and Vallie Ragde shopped in support of Final Salute, Inc.

Operation Iraq Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veteran Jaspen “Jas” Boothe founded Final Salute, Inc. in November 2010 as part of her commitment to "Never Leave a Fallen Comrade." Her personal journey through illness and the lack of resources for female veterans inspired her to create a support network for struggling female veterans. The organization has assisted over 70 women veterans and their children to find housing and Final Salute now operates three transitional homes in Fairfax, Alexandria, and Columbus, Ohio.

Factors that contribute to woman-veteran homelessness include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, unemployment, ineligibility or lack of veterans’ benefits, disabilities, divorce, domestic violence and a lack of family or social support.

“Our women and men in the military are contributing so much for their country, and they deserve anything we can do to help them in their civilian lives,” said Doris Cooper of the VWC. “Making sure our military knows how much we love them, taking care of the female veterans, is something we need to do.”

To learn more about Final Salute, Inc. and how to support homeless female veterans, go to http://www.finalsaluteinc.org/.