Female Veterans Unite Inc. was the new kid on the block approximately four years ago, networking with thousands of other not-for-profit organizations, who were all striving to help out female veterans in Sarasota County and the surrounding areas. Initially, their board of directors thought that they would attempt to get a few women veterans together for a “retreat” and then have them all go their separate ways and just call it a “fun time” that was had by all. But something much more magical happened at that September 2014 Retreat, and it has been re-occurring every September since then.
And recently, Mr. Victor Young, Owner of BMW of Sarasota also took notice. Mr. Young has always been supportive of the veterans in our community, but this time he took it one step further. On Saturday, April 29th, 2017, at BMW of Sarasota (5151 Clark Rd., Sarasota) BMW is giving away a $40,000.00 motorcycle formerly owned by Norman Reedus of the ride community and “aka” Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead and Female Veterans Unite will be the recipient of all that is fund-raised at this major event. Beginning at 6:00 pm and going until 10:00 pm, there will be food, fun, and zombie-fighting at this special event. There will also be a Walking Dead Costume Contest, free BMW giveaways throughout the evening, and tickets will be sold to win a 4 hour cruise for 23 of your friends on Mr. John Saputo’s Gold Eagle 62’ yacht AND an opportunity to win a free weekend rental of a BMW convertible. Now these are pretty special, high end prizes. Wouldn’t you agree?
How Did Female Veterans Unite Originate:
The founder of Female Veterans Unite Inc., Ms. Georgie Alfano-Cronk was not prepared for the surveys that she received at the end of the retreat that encouraged her; (no, the proper wording here would be, “demanded of her”) to hold “ADDITIONAL” sessions for more of our women veterans. Approximately 25 women did not want to leave the premises at Day Spring after 4 days and 3 nights of group sessions, team building activities, sharing their stories, laughing through stories of combat and broken relationships, and crying enough tears to fill a river basin. But as Ms. Alfano-Cronk explains to the novice non-veteran; “it was all therapeutic and even curative in nature. These were the same women who went from being trained to kill during war times, to coming back home and becoming wives, mothers, daughters, and employees once again”. Where would they ever find the time to take care of themselves and their own needs, let alone to be able to seamlessly blend back into their own communities? And then they discovered that they needed to address various issues and concerns that affected them, but not necessarily their military male counterparts. The Veterans Administration (VA) did not, or would not address many of the women veterans concerns that had any type of liability issues attached to it; but the women veterans at “Female Veterans Unite” didn’t mind taking on the task! After all; it takes a Sister to know a Sister.
The facilitators at FVU say that they are now willing to admit that they have discovered the secret formula for bringing female veterans to their retreats in droves. They have been able to create not only a very safe environment for the Women Warriors to express themselves, but also encouraged the necessary amount of trust that is required for women veterans to build lasting bonds. Their current Board of Directors: (Amy Spears-Nordhausen, Carol McBride, Elizabeth Cereska, and Georgie Alfano-Cronk) are all female veterans themselves so they know exactly what is necessary to move each retreat forward and make each veteran feel comfortable enough to reveal her deepest and inner most soul. “We encourage the women to be respectful, understanding, compassionate and to embrace each other’s differences, and they definitely have done all of them. These women rock!”
Over the next couple of months, Female Veterans Unite committees will be holding fundraisers and will be asking the people and the local veteran organizations for their financial support. FVU is a 501 (c) (3) and so all contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The cost to sponsor each women warrior is $400.00, but that price includes their room, board, professional facilitators, an activities package, water & snacks, and many more freebies that are provided for them by businesses in our community. This event is FREE for the Women Veterans, but they must go online now to www.femaleveteransunite.com and fill out an application to attend this event as space is limited. The retreat is scheduled for Sept. 14th – 17th inclusive and is held at Day Spring Episcopal Center in Parrish, Florida.
Many people seem to know that men have served our country, but they seem to forget that women have also served in our military armed forces. In fact; the most recent statistics from the Center for Women Veterans are that there are nearly three million women serving in the armed forces and they make up 20 percent of the military workforce. Women are one of the fastest growing segments of the Veteran population”. (03/02/2016)
So as I see this; it would be beneficial that Female Veterans Unite Inc. continue to do exactly what they have been doing all along, plus plan on incorporating some of their newly developed programs into action. Our female veterans need our assistance and attention too. If you liked my message, comment to me here. If you like what FEMALE VETERANS UNITE represent, go to their face book page and LIKE them there and please SHARE their message.
If you are even the least bit curious about what they are doing or if they might need some additional volunteer staff to help them to reach their goals, please feel free to call them at (941) 266-2769 (Georgie) or (941) 302-5496 (Amy). Donations are now being accepted at their GO FUND ME Page: https://www.gofundme.com/femaleveteransunite or you may write a check to: FEMALE VETERANS UNITE INC., P.O. Box 5403, Sarasota, FL 34237-5403. Female Veterans Unite Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) and all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.