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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
urged veterans in the audience to make use of the VA.
a health care benefit that you have earned for your service for this country,”
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
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.
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.
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.