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Buffalo Office focuses on female veterans as part of Women’s History Month celebration

Published March 24, 2016
Women’s Program Manager for the VA Western New York Healthcare System Jill LaMantia talks to the Buffalo District office about her drive to assist female veterans, March 22, 2016.

Women’s Program Manager for the VA Western New York Healthcare System Jill LaMantia talks to the Buffalo District office about her drive to assist female veterans, March 22, 2016.

Women’s History Month celebrates the contributions and achievements of women, and this year’s theme is, “Working to form a more perfect union: honoring women in public service and government.”

In following this theme the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District welcomed guest speaker Jill LaMantia to the District to discuss her role as the Women’s Program Manager for the Veterans Administration (VA) Western New York (WNY) Healthcare System.

LaMantia provided an overview of the special needs of female veterans, covering services that are offered - but often not widely known about - for female veterans in the WNY area. 

“When I was hired eight years ago, there were no female clinics at the VA, male and female patients were intermingled on the floors, and female patients were issued the same brown short pajamas issued to males…fly and all,” said LaMantia.

Providers at the WNY VA have early morning, evening and weekend appointments to allow patients access to healthcare without interfering with work and childcare.  In addition, the Buffalo VA is one of only three VA Healthcare Systems in the country with a Kids Korner, providing free childcare for veterans who have medical appointments at the VA.

LaMantia urged veterans in the audience to make use of the VA.

“It’s a health care benefit that you have earned for your service for this country,” she said.

LaMantia works with many homeless and indigent female veterans. With the help of volunteers, she puts together small gift bags for female patients requiring a stay in the hospital as a way of making the experience a little more comfortable.

To support the veterans who receive these gift bags, the Buffalo District put together a collection of comfort items that could be used to fill the bags.

At the end of the talk USACE Buffalo District Commander LTC Karl Jansen presented LaMantia with a Certificate of Appreciation and three boxes filled with small items such as soaps, lotions, brushes, and lip gloss donated by the Buffalo District employees, for her to take back to the VA and use for her program.

Employees were so interested in the talk, they stayed long after the presentation had finished to ask for guidance on who to call for assistance for themselves, spouses, and relatives who are veterans. The presentation had such an impact on those present that a request was made to the Buffalo District Equal Employment Opportunity Officer to continue the collection of donations for the gift bags.