For Immediate Release - November 04, 2016

The Massachusetts Women Veterans’ Network hosts 12th Annual Appreciation Day, Honors Women Veterans Past and Present

BOSTON – On Friday, the Massachusetts Women Veteran Network (WVN) hosted the 12th annual Women Veterans’ Appreciation Day ceremony at the State House in Memorial Hall.  The event honors women who have served in our nation’s military past and present and the Deborah Sampson Outstanding Woman Veteran of the Year award is announced.

“I want to congratulate all the distinguished women veterans who serve our country with pride,” said theSecretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders. “We know women are one of the fastest growing segments of the military and the WVN is a vital resource for connecting and empowering women veterans who support each other.”

This year the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services Women Veterans’ Network proudly presented the 2016 Deborah Sampson Award to Massachusetts Yeoman First Class (YN1) Kristin M. Davenport currently serving on active duty in the Administration Department at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod (ASCC).  Army Guard Lieutenant Colonel Margaret White recipient of the 2015 Deborah Sampson Award was in attendance and presented the award.

The Women Veterans’ Network of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services was established in 1997 with the vision of being the central resource for women veterans in Massachusetts. It has a database of 15,000 women veterans who receive a biannual newsletter with information about state and federal benefits, health resources and programs and networking events.

“This day serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by these women on behalf of our grateful nation,” said Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Francisco Ureña. “I am honored today to be here for our women who represent our fastest growing population of veterans.”

Each year this event honors the women in the Commonwealth who have served our country, and in particular honors one woman with the Deborah Sampson Outstanding Woman Veteran of the Year award, whose military and community service is extraordinary.  Deborah Sampson, the name which the award honors, fought in the American Revolution disguised as a male solider by the name of Robert Shurtliff, and was named the official state heroine of Massachusetts in 1982.

"Today we honor the service and sacrifice of all our women who have raised their right hand, swore an oath, and put on the uniform of our country's military services," said Major General Gary Keefe, Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard.“ Thank you for breaking the original glass ceiling, and your continued selfless dedication to protecting this great nation. I am honored to serve in the company of such leaders, role models and heroes."

“The Women Veterans Network is honored to acknowledge YN1 Kristin Davenport for the Deborah Sampson Outstanding Woman Veteran of the Year award. This is the first year we have the privilege to honoring a service member from the US Coast Guard,” said Women Veterans’ Network Coordinator Vivianna Marcotte. “Kristin’s military service, community service, and commitment to her fellow women veterans is nothing short of commendable.”

In addition to the presentation of the 2016 Deborah Sampson Award, the program was keynoted by the United States Air Force Brigadier General Laurie Farris. Farris currently serves as the Chief of Staff of the New Hampshire Air National Guard at Joint Forces headquarters in Concord, N.H. Other attendees included First Lady Lauren Baker, Congresswoman Katherine M. Clark, Rep. Jerald Parisella, Major General Gary W. Keefe, Secretary Ureña and Treasurer Deborah Goldberg.