Delphine Metcalf-Foster, National Commander
Our mission continues
Hello comrades and families! I’m humbled and honored to serve as our organization’s first national commander who is a woman veteran. When I became involved in DAV, this was not something I sought, but I think it shows what opportunities are available for disabled veterans who wish to serve fellow veterans and their families.
Our year was certainly busy, and as I look ahead, I think it’s safe to say we know we’re about to get busier. I’m humbly asking for your help as we continue our mission.
One of my areas of focus in our coming year will be the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder. About 8 percent of Americans will have PTSD for any number of reasons at any given time. That’s about the total population of Texas. But for our nation’s veterans, the numbers are proportionately much higher. For Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, PTSD rates range from 11 to 20 percent, Gulf War veterans are at 12 percent, and an astonishing 30 percent of our Vietnam veterans have experienced the symptoms of PTSD at some point in their lives.
The myths surrounding this illness are often perpetrated by Hollywood, the military-civilian gap in our country and popular culture. These stereotypes create barriers to employment and interpersonal relationships and can negatively impact a veteran’s desire to seek treatment.
It is my intent to join you in combatting this stigma and encouraging veterans to get the help they need in order to thrive.
Additionally, we need to keep our eyes focused on the unique health issues of women veterans. Our female service members are shouldering the same risks as their brothers-in-arms, and we must ensure they receive the services and programs they have earned.
Women have been in every conflict since the birth of our country but have only recently begun to receive some much-deserved recognition. Immediately after World War I, President Woodrow Wilson said, “It goes without saying that the country depends upon women for a large part of the inspiration of its life. But it is now depending upon the women also for suggestions of service, which have been rendered in abundance and with the distinction of originality.”
Our country’s vernacular may have changed, but the distinct service of women veterans has been a constant. I ask that you please join me in continuing to advocate so the unique needs of our sisters-in-arms are fully met by our government.
We have many fights ahead of us, but like you, I’m not one to back away from a fight.
I invite you to join me through the DAV CAN (Commander’s Action Network) at davcan.org and tell your national elected representatives where you stand on veteran-related issues.
I look forward to working with you all this year. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as your national commander, and I pledge to work tirelessly to ensure our voices are heard.
If you want to find out more about the National Commander, you can find her biography here.