AUSTIN, TX — The Texas Veterans Commission and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs featured 30 women from around the state in a photo exhibit that was displayed in the state capital last month.
The 'I Am Not Invisible' exhibit aims to highlight their service and let other women veterans know about the benefits available to them.
Texas Veterans Commission Veteran Entrepreneur Manager Anna Baker, who was featured in the exhibit, said the visual display also aimed to reach entities that care for veterans.
"It is also to educate organizations and agencies that serve veterans to understand that women have unique needs and to ensure the services they provide are equitable," Baker said.
Elise Maynor, who earned the rank of corporal in the U.S. Army, participated in the exhibit to put a face to the 180,000 women veterans in Texas.
"I think it was really good because I know a lot of the women I served with are in veterans groups online but I don't know how active they are in telling their story, and be seen as a women veteran," Maynor said.
Maynor, who deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, helped in the collection of personnel identification and biometric data collection at active enemy engagement sites. She was a Mark 19 (MK19) gunner for her Commander and First Sergeant in Afghanistan for over 100 missions.
"I was the soldier who was in the vehicle in the gunner's position that would shoot the weapon if necessary," Maynor said.
In Iraq, she was a female dismount for her Sergeant Major, ready to engage in combat and handling of female enemies to be detained.
According to Manor, she was the first female soldier in her brigade to be air assault qualified. She was also trained in the Army Combatives I ,II, III and one of four women at 101st Airborned Division to be qualified in 2008.
After marrying a fellow soldier, Maynor ended her military service and went to college earning a degree in graphic design and photography.
"Without joining, I wouldn't have been able to do all the things I did. I realized I was capable of so much more," Maynor said.
Lee Anna Davis was another veteran from Bell County featured in the exhibit. She served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. She is now serving the community as the adjutant for the Veterans of Foreign Wars post 9191 in Killeen.
If you would like to display the exhibit in your community, contact Baker at email@example.com.
The 'I Am Not Invisible' exhibit will be on display next in Fort Worth. Until then, you can learn more about the campaign online.