Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex, Bossier City ceremony tries to inspire youth

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The City of Bossier City and Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex hosted a Veterans Day weekend ceremony Nov. 8 at the veteran’s memorial between the Bossier Municipal Complex and Bossier Civic Center.

Guest speaker at the ceremony was Col. Sara Ann Custer, commander of the 2nd Mission Support Group at Barksdale Air Force Base. Col. Custer spoke about the importance of organizations, like the Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex, bringing connectedness to the military and the community.

Sandy Franks, president and founder of the Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

“I know how important this organization is because we need to have connectedness. I am going through that now with my 1,900 airmen. I am constantly trying to make sure they feel connected to the mission of Barksdale,” she said. “In order to do that, you need to have human contact. You need to have us reaching out. You need to have us talking to each other. In organizations like this, it brings folks close together and gives them a sense of connectedness.”

The mission of the Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex is to honor and assist women veterans who have and continue to serve our country. And their goal is to unite women veterans and provide opportunities for camaraderie, education, and community service.

Sandy Franks, president and founder of the Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex, said she hopes the young people who attended the ceremony feel inspired, and understand what veterans have done for them.

“I really hope all who attended the ceremony recognize the service that veterans have given to the country. We hope young people understand what veterans have done for the country, what veterans have done for them in their service to this nation,” Franks said. “And, I hope (veterans) inspire them. It’s nice to know that maybe we can inspire one of them to be a Col. Custer one day.”

Col. Sara Ann Custer, commander of the 2nd Mission Support Group at Barksdale Air Force Base, greets attendees at the City of Bossier City and Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex Veterans Day weekend ceremony Nov. 8. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

The number of women serving in the U.S. military has increased over the years and, according to the Pentagon, there are currently just over 214,000 women serving in the U.S. military which represents about 15% of the total force. 

In 2016, there were approximately 2.1 million women veterans, and more than 70% are not aligned with any veteran service organization. The Women Veterans of the Ark-La-Tex seeks to fill this gap.

The Women Veterans of the Ark La Tex is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which was incorporated in February 2017. Members pay no dues. All women veterans and all active duty, guard, and reserve women are invited to join.

For more information, visit womenveteransofthearklatex.org.