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Support group for female veterans in Killeen aims to make transition out of military easier

Posted at 9:32 PM, Jan 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-04 22:36:52-05

KILLEEN, TX — A new program in Bell County is bringing women veterans together.

Expiration of Term of Service, also known as ETSing or transitioning out of the military, is often a difficult time for veterans.

The Woven Women Veterans Network for Killeen and surrounding areas is all about making the transition an easy one.

The ladies in the group proudly served their country.

"Spent nine to ten years in the army. I'm now ETSing at the rank of Captain," said Ali Ouali, peer leader with Woven Women Veterans Network.

"Served 22 years in the U.S. Army. My MOS [military occupational specialty], I was military intelligence. And I retried as a Chief Warrant Officer 4," shared Lila Holley, co peer leader and founder of Camouflaged Sisters.

The two explained transitioning out of the military can often be difficult.

"I felt like I needed to belong to a community because I'm leaving my soldiers. I'm leaving all I have been knowing for a long time," said Ouali.

"Just always in service to others, when transition time came, I didn't know how to serve myself," added Holley.

The duo decided it would be a good idea to introduce the Woven Women Veterans Network to Killeen to help women like them.

"So the ultimate goal mission is to provide a network of support for the women veterans," said Ouali. "Because we noticed that that was a need out there. That women veterans when they leave the service, they feel like they need a community to belong to."

During the eight week program, the network of women will partner with local groups like the Camouflaged Sisters and Divas in Dog Tags to create an everlasting network of support.

"We don't necessarily always see that the support is here for us," explained Rhonda Mack, founder of Divas om Dog Tags. "We don't usually know about the resources that are here for us and so just having a place to go where we can have our concerns heard, that's a big one for us."

The group's first eight week session will begin Jan. 18. The group will meet Saturdays at 10 a.m. at The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in Killeen.