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Women veterans treated to recognition tea party

Six female veterans were honored for their service Jan. 30 at a "recognition tea," hosted by the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary. Front row, from left: Rosemary Miller, Charlis Carrol. Back row: Peggy Drake, Teri Nyland, Noelle Goriesky and Kay Cain. (Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)

Local female veterans were venerated for their service to country.

The Jan. 30 event was hosted by the local Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Auxiliary and Hubbard County Veterans Service Office (VSO).

Six women attended a recognition tea in their honor.

A nurse, Rosemary Miller served two years in active duty. The first year she was at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Denver, the other at the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Long Bình, Vietnam. Miller's great-grandfather homesteaded property south of Dorset corner.

Charlis Carrol of Osage was in the Air Force from 1968-1999, working as a telephone operator, comm center operator and communications program manager. "I took a year off to have my daughter," she said.

Kay Cain, also from Osage, served in the Navy from 1965-67 as a physical therapist. She was stationed mainly at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, now called the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Cain said she was the first woman recruited by the Bemidji office.

Peggy Drake was in the Army, mostly in Germany, from 1986-92. "I was ammunitions specialist, but I didn't really do that. I learned a lot and I traveled a lot," she said.

Teri Nyland entered the Navy in 1990. She was stationed at Pensacola, Coronado Island and Washington D.C.

Noelle Goriesky served from 1986-92 as an aircraft maintenance scheduler. She went to Lincoln-Heath, England; England Air Force Base in Louisiana and Guam.

The DAV is the second-oldest federally chartered veterans organization in the U.S., said DAV Commander Jeff Siebert. "The only one that's older is the American Legion by one year. It was founded by World War I vets that wanted to help one another."

The DAV, American Legion Post 212 and the Hubbard County VSO cooperate to get veterans to their VA medical appointments. It's called the DAV Volunteer Transportation Program. There is no charge for the service and it's staffed by volunteer drivers.

Last year, volunteers in the region donated 1,780 hours and drove 53,857 miles (a 15.2 percent increase), Siebert said. They transported 420 veterans.

"Our mission is to improve veterans' quality of life," said Greg Remus, adjutant with DAV Park Rapids.

The chapter also collects 14,000 pounds of donated new or gently used clothing per month from bins located in Park Rapids, Nevis, Walker, Lake George, Sebeka and Hackensack. The DAV has partnered with Savers Thrift Stores to accept donations. Proceeds fund DAV projects.

"This community is very pro-vet," Remus said.

VSO Officer Jerry Bjerk reviewed services available — and earned — by eligible veterans, such as compensation, pension, medical care, education, vocational rehabilitation and insurance.

"I always like to take the opportunity to talk to veterans. It's my passion and I kind of get paid for it. It's a win-win," said Bjerke. "We help veterans and their family members. All things veterans. Come into the office and we'll help you out."

As of 2016, there were 2,062 veterans in Hubbard County, according to Bjerke.

The VSO brought more than $9 million in compensation and pensions, $8.6 million for medical care, $422,000 for education and $133,00 for insurance into Hubbard County.

"That's money that helps our veterans and their families live a better life," Bjerke said. "These are benefits that they've earned."

He can be reached at 732-3561.