Soldier inducted into Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame

| March 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
Courtesy photo Genevieve Chase (right), founder and executive director of American Women  Veterans, Company C, 301st Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, poses with 1st Sgt. Gonzalo Lassally (left) after her deployment in 2013, Fort Drum, N.Y.

Genevieve Chase, founder and executive director of American Women Veterans, shown with battle buddy 1st Sgt. Gonzalo Lassally after a 2013 deployment.

Staff Sgt. Thomas G. Collins
500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — Advocate and founder of American Women Veterans Foundation, Sgt. 1st Class Genevieve Chase, senior special agent, Company C, 301st Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, was inducted into the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame during its 8th Annual Summit and Reception, Tuesday, at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.

Chase was one of four inductees to cross the stage.

“It feels overwhelming, and I’m truly humbled to be recognized alongside notable Army ‘trailblazers’ – women who paved the way so that we could serve as we do today,” Chase said. “It’s an honor I will try to live up to for the rest of my life.”

Chase was recognized for her work both in and out of uniform. Along with her sister, Warrant Officer Candidate V. Joyce Irwin, she founded the American Women Veterans (AWV) Foundation, which advocates for female veterans issues.

“When my sister and I began AWV, there was no organization representing the voice of women veterans,” explained Chase.

She continued to say, that unlike some organizations, which use the image of “damaged warriors” for fundraising, the AWV focuses on empowerment.

Chase saw the need for the AWV after a 2006 combat tour in Afghanistan. While there, her vehicle was hit by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. The passengers survived the attack, but suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress.

“I used to feel ashamed about not having died when others did, about not having lost a limb, about not having closed with and engaged our attacker,” described Chase. “I didn’t feel worthy because so many others have given so much more than I did.”

To assist in her own recovery and assist women combat veterans, Chase dedicated herself to veterans’ advocacy and telling her story.

“In sharing my story, I have found that I’m not alone,” said Chase. “There are countless others who felt and feel as I did. That in and of itself, the knowing we are not alone, is healing. It is not contrived and it’s not ‘therapy,’ rather it’s an understanding that resides within the complex nature of camaraderie – often unexplainable to people who’ve never served.”

Chase continued to explain that her story isn’t about raising awareness, but rather about leaving a legacy for those who will walk in her and other women veterans’ “bootsteps” someday.

Chase testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and proved herself an effective advisor on legislation and policies influencing women serving in the military.

For her efforts, the Army recognized Chase as a 2010 All American Soldier Hero.

In 2013, Chase again found herself in Afghanistan.

“I felt a renewed sense of purpose and a deep and critical understanding of what it means to be in the darkest of places,” said Chase. “It helped me better relate to not only those who are struggling with that personal war within, but those who love and care for them.”

Following her tour, the sergeant major of the Army selected Chase as a Washington, D.C. Hometown Hero.

With renewed vigor, Chase continues her work through the AWV.

“AWV has worked to raise awareness, educate and advocate on behalf of military women and veterans from the top, down – basically in the offices of Congress and the Pentagon,” said Chase. “Going forward, we will continue to do this. However, we’re also launching our AWV ‘Boots on the Ground’ initiative, where our primary focus will be developing chapters around the country with a focus on … continuing service in our communities, honoring women veterans and empowering each other and ourselves.”

 

American Women Veterans Foundation

For more information about the AWV, visit www.facebook.com/AmericanWomenVeterans/ or the Army Women’s Foundation at www.facebook.com/Army-Womens-Foundation-98678409553/?fref=ts.

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Leadership, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *