Women Veterans

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Who We Are

​​From the founding of our nation, women have protected America's freedom and will continue to do so in ever increasing numbers. To address the needs of women veterans in our state, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) remains committed to:

  • Providing advocacy for women veterans;
  • Encouraging and supporting recognition of women veterans' contributions to Wisconsin and the nation;
  • Providing outreach for women veterans' programs and issues

For more information about the Women Veterans Program, contact:​
Telephone: (800) WIS-VETS

Women Veterans Program Brochure​​

​Woman Veteran Spotlight

The WDVA Women Veterans Program wants to bring awareness to the outstanding women veterans right here in Wisconsin.  These women veterans succeed in all of our communities and have monumental impacts ​on many lives.  If there is a woman veteran you would lke to feature, email us!

Hispanic Heritage Month: Yolanda Medina, Marine and MAVRC

73370580_10156849050396314_71770943625625600_o.jpgYolanda Medina never told her parents she was going to join the military. It wasn’t until her service concluded that she realized what it truly meant.

Medina, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, enlisted with her boyfriend, who became her husband, Joe. After graduating from boot camp in South Carolina, she became the first female aircraft technician in the Marines, working on AV8-A and AV8-B Harrier Jump Jets.

In addition to repairing air conditioning systems, ejection seats and oxygen systems, Medina said she was responsible for “fixing aircraft to get the pilots off the ground.” She often had a leg up on her male counterparts, because she was able to reach places in the aircraft they were unable to.

Medina said that as a woman in the military, she’d often get tested by those around her that she was unable to lift her toolbox.

“Obviously if I am in this MOS, I can lift the toolbox,” Medina said.

During her military training, Medina said she spent many hours in classes with other women, who were all taught how to wear what was deemed “proper” red lipstick, and wear their hair “slick and tight.”

Sept. 15-Oct. 15 every year is National Hispanic Heritage Month, where we recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans in our history. Medina said she sees it as an important time because it shows that we are all Americans, no matter how you got there.

“(Hispanic Heritage Month) recognizes people that are indigenous to the continent,” Medina said. “No matter what your last name is, whether it is Hernandez, Martinez, Gonzalez or Rodriguez, they are just as American as the last names, for example, Schmidt, Johnson and Miller.

“Service to this country should be just as valued. No Hispanic, Latino or whatever one calls us is honored…we work just as hard and contribute to this country as any other group.”

Medina is a lifelong resident of Waukesha County and is currently the director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Military and Veterans Resource Center.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and a master’s degree in adult, community and professional education from Carroll University. She said that she plans to enter the Ph.D. program in Anthropology at UW-Milwaukee during spring 2020 to continue her research on moral trauma in the military.

Her husband Joe passed away in 2016.

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs’ Women Veterans Program salutes Medina for her service.​

​Women Veteran Business Owners

The WDVA Women Veterans Program recognizes the imp​ortant role women veteran business owners play in our state. We are pleased to share your story and information about your business with the greater veteran community in Wisconsin. Interested in being highlighted here? Email us!

April 2019 Woman Veteran Business Owner: Carla Stephany

Meet Carla Stephany, owner of Riveter Enterprises. Carla is an Air Force veteran who started this construction contracting business with locations in both Colorado Springs and Wisconsin.

Catalog of Featured Woman Veteran Business Owners

September 2017 Women Veteran Business Owner
June Carleton, Navy
Signs of Life by JC

July 2017 Woman Veteran Business Owner

May 2017 Woman Veteran Business Owner
Jill Clark-Mata, Air Force 

February 2017 Woman Veteran Business Owner
Lori Ford, Air Force 

January 2017 Woman Veteran Business Owner
Maria Kovach, Air Force 

December 2016 Woman Veteran Business Owner

​​​​WDVA Wisconsin Woman of the Year Award

The Wisconsin Woman Veteran of the Year Award recognizes women veterans who have compiled a record of exemplary service as a military service member, a veteran, and outstanding member of the community. The Woman of the Year Nomination Form​​ must be received no later than September 1, 2018.​  

2018 W​oman Veteran of the Year – Kim Graff, Milton

US Marine Corps Veteran Kimberly Graff, Milton, has been named the 2018 Wisconsin Woman Veteran of the Year. Graff enlisted in the Marines two years after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and two years to the day following the unexpected death of her first husband. She became a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Specialist in March 2013 and trained alongside the Secret Service in Washington D.C. She deployed to the South Pacific and Australia.

Graff remarried (her husband is also a Marine,)​ moved back to Wisconsin, and had a daughter. She retired from the military earlier this year and now serves as a wife and mother to their child and her two stepchildren. 

Graff was selected to receive the Wisconsin Woman Veteran of the Year award for her work to advocate for protections for military families as service members are away on duty, an issue that she took up following her husband’s struggle with the family court system and child placement. She created the “Protecting Military Families in Wisconsin advocacy group and is working to pass the Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act in the Wisconsin State Legislature. It currently sits with the Legislative Study Committee on Child Placement and Support and has bipartisan backing. Graff has worked with various Veterans groups and has helped raise money for homeless women Veterans. She will earn her Master’s Degree next year in humanities and currently works as a Special Education Paraprofessional in the Milton School District.

2017: Connie Walker of Madison, United States Navy
2016: Cindy Brosig of Sun Prairie, United States Air Force
2015: Denise Rohan of Verona, United States Army
2014: Jennifer Sluga of Waunakee, United State Army
2012: Nancy Kaczor of Franklin, United States Air Force
2011: Holly Hoppe of ​Oconto, United States Air Force
2010: Jessica Maple of Mosinee, ​United States Air Force
2009: Connie Allord of Madison, United States Marine Corps

Information and Resources

You can find detailed information about WDVA benefits, services, and programs by visiting the WDVA Benefits and Claims webpage. Below, we have provided additional resources for women veterans.


At each USDVA Medical Center nationwide, a Women Veterans Program Manager is designated to assist women veterans. She can help coordinate all the services you may need. For more information or assistance with specific health care issues, contact your local Women Veterans Program Manager.​

The USDVA has qualified MST counselors at every hospital. Many Vet Centers also have an MST coordinator. This person can discuss treatment with you and help you find the services that best fit your needs. Many USDVA and Vet Centers offer services specific to men and women.

Do you live more than 50 miles away from your USDVA Hospital and need overnight lodging to be able to attend appointments? Call the Hoptel Program at your facility to learn more about Temporary Lodging.

The Patient Advocacy Program is for all veterans and their families who receive care at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities and clinics. If you need help getting care or getting your problems resolved, talk to the Patient Advocate at your USDVA Medical Center.

Iron Mountain
325 East H Street, Iron Mountain, MI 49801
Women Veterans Program Manager:
Julie Gendron, LMSW, (906) 774-3300 Ext. 32388
MST Coordinator: 1-800-215-8262 Ext. 32631
Hoptel Program: 1-800-215-8262 Ext. 32811
Patient Advocate: 906-774-3300 Ext. 32020

2500 Overlook Terrace, Madison, WI 53705
Women Veterans Program Manager:
Gail Gunter Hunt, LCSW, (608) 256-1901 Ext. 11687
MST Coordinator: (608) 265-1901 Ext. 11364
Hoptel Program: (608) 256-1901 Ext. 12007
Patient Advocate: (608) 280-7182

5000 W. National Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53295
Women Veterans Program Manager:
Jill Feldman, PhD, LCSW, (414) 384-2000 Ext. 41926
MST Coordinator: (414) 384-2000 Ext. 45777
Hoptel Program: (414) 384-2000 Ext. 41136
Patient Advocate: (414) 384-2000 Ext. 42604

1 Veterans Drive Minneapolis, MN 55417
Women Veterans Program Manager:
(612) 467-2487
MST Coordinator: (612) 725-2000
Hoptel Program: (612) 725-2000
Patient Advocate: (612) 467-2106

North Chicago
3001 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064
Women Veterans Program Manager:
Anna Bonney, RN, (847) 688-1900
MST Coordinator: Delia De Avila, LCSW, (224) 610-5843
Hoptel Program: (847) 688-1900 Ext. 85554
Patient Advocate: (847) 688-1900 Ext. 84211

500 East Veterans Street, Tomah, WI 54660
Women Veterans Program Manager:
Clelia Taylor, MSW, APSW, (608) 372-3971 Ext. 66375
MST Coordinator: Tamara Woods, PhD (608) 372-3971 Ext. 66429
Hoptel Program: (608) 372-3971 Ext. 61750
Patient Advocate: (608) 372-3971 Ext. 66353 or 67723
Not in Wisconsin? No worries, locate your nearest facility here.

There is a Women Veteran Coordinator (WVCs) located in every regional office who functions as the primary contact for women veterans. WVCs provide specific information and comprehensive assistance to women veterans, their dependents, and beneficiaries concerning USDVA benefits and related non-USDVA benefits. They may assist you in the claims intake, development, and processing of military sexual and personal trauma claims.

     U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
     Women Veteran Coordinator
     Dawn Spencer, Outreach Specialist
     5400 W. National Ave.
     Milwaukee, WI 53214
     Email: dawn.spencer1@va.gov

Women Vets Call CenterOn April 23, 2013, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched its new Women Veterans hotline​ – 
1-855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636) – an incoming call center that receives and responds to questions from women veterans, their families, and caregivers across the nation about available USDVA services and resources. USDVA aims to meet the unique needs of women veterans by delivering the highest quality of health care to each woman, while offering privacy, dignity, and sensitivity to gender-specific needs that she deserves. USDVA covers a full continuum of care, including comprehensive primary care, mental health services, as well as emergency and specialty care. In addition, USDVA provides gynecology services, maternity care, caregiver support, crisis support and help for homeless veterans. With one phone call, women veterans can discover all the USDVA has to offer.

Explore U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits

Email WomenVets@dva.wisconsin.gov to submit your Woman Veteran Service Organization.

Contact: Gwen Sheppard, Post Commander
Phone: (414) 376-4718 Ext. 1292882 
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American Legion, Madelyn LaCanne Post #539
Contact: Debbie Thomas, Adjutant
Join them on Join the Madelyn LaCanne Post #539 American Legion on Facebook

United Women Veterans, Madison
Contact: Elizabeth Benn, President
Phone: (608) 235-3901
United Women Veterans, Northwest Chapter
Contact: Alysia Smith, President
Phone: (715) 416-1451 

Military Women Across the Nation, Badger Unit #39
Contact: Kristin Gancarz, President
Phone: (262) 632-2443

Military Women Across the Nation, Fox Cities Unit ​153
Contact: Pamela Pamperin, Treasurer
Phone: (920) 954-8445

Women Marines Association, WI-1
Contact: Linda O'Hara, President
Phone: (414) 405-7349