Patrick-Murray Administration Honors Women Veterans at Annual State House Event
Massachusetts Women Veterans’ Network honors Deborah Sampson Award recipient Master Sergeant Carin Smith
BOSTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) Secretary Coleman Nee and the Women Veterans’ Network (WVN) today honored women who have served in the military at DVS’ 8th Annual Women Veterans’ Appreciation Day in Memorial Hall at the State House. Master Sergeant (Ret.) Carin Smith of the Massachusetts Army National Guard (MANG), was honored with this year’s Deborah Sampson Award, a WVN award that is given to a Massachusetts female veteran for extraordinary military and community service.
“Massachusetts is proud to honor women veterans each and every day through the incredible work of the Women Veterans’ Network," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services. “With today’s ceremony, we especially commend MSG Carin Smith for her selfless dedication and bravery in serving our country and continuing to support our veterans in the Commonwealth."
The Women Veterans' Network, part of DVS was established in 1997 with the mission of providing one central resource for women veterans in Massachusetts. The WVN provides women veterans with information on federal, state, and local benefits and also advocates on behalf of women veterans across the Commonwealth. In doing so, WVN works to increase awareness for the needs of women veterans, and identifies available health and human resources to meet those needs.
“Today’s celebration is an important opportunity to acknowledge the commitment of women veterans and to remind them of the many resources available that support their unique health and wellness needs “ said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby.
“Roles for women in the military continue to expand and women are the fastest growing segment of our veteran population in Massachusetts and nationally,” said Secretary of Veterans’ Services Coleman Nee. “It is fitting that we take the time to acknowledge the women who have paved the way for those that continue to serve with honor, and to not only honor the extraordinary achievements of MSG Carin Smith, but all women veterans.”
The 2012 Deborah Sampson Award recipient, MSG Carin L. Smith, joined the Massachusetts Army National Guard on December 16, 1989 during her senior year in high school. Her first unit of assignment was the 1058th Transportation Company in Hingham. During her 22 year career, MSG Smith preformed various duties including: transportation, supply specialist, human resources, and aviation operations. In August 2005 , MSG Smith volunteered to deploy with the 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as their Senior Human Resources NCO. After the deployment, she enrolled at Endicott College to complete her Bachelor Degree requirements and was instrumental in creating a partnership with Endicott and the MA National Guard to create a program for local soldiers to attend Endicott classes at Camp Edwards. Upon her retirement, MSG Smith continues to serve her country and community by supporting veterans and their families through her work at the Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Center in Plymouth.
“It is an honor to acknowledge all the brave and selfless women who have served our country here and abroad to keep us and our communities safe,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “We will continue to see more women in the military in the years ahead, and I want to thank the Women Veterans’ Network for all their support. I also want to thank MSG Carin Smith, a resident of Plymouth and this year's winner of the Deborah Sampson Award, for her years of service and her ongoing commitment to other veterans.”
“I am proud to have the opportunity to recognize the outstanding contributions of our women veterans,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “Like their male counterparts, many of these women return home with wounds that are both visible and invisible. They also have needs that are unanticipated and specific to women. We as a government have the obligation to step up and meet the needs of our veterans, regardless of gender, and our office is dedicated to being part of that.”
Massachusetts leads the nation in providing benefits and services to veterans and their families. Through Chapter 115 financial assistance, the Commonwealth provides over $60 million annually to assist veterans and eligible dependents with food, shelter, supplies and medical care. The Commonwealth also provides an additional $21 million in annuity payments for disabled veterans and Gold Star Families.
"On behalf of the House of Representatives, I am honored to express our support and profound thanks to our women in uniform, past and present," House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. "Since I've been Speaker, the Legislature has done so much to help veterans, and I'm proud to say that Massachusetts is now one of the top states in the country when it comes to helping veterans when they return home."
“Women’s achievements in military service are especially noteworthy since there are so few role models for them," said Auditor Suzanne Bump. "They continue to be trailblazers who deserve our admiration as well as our gratitude.”
About the Deborah Sampson Award
The Deborah Sampson Award, formerly the state’s Outstanding Woman Veteran of the Year, was named in honor of the first known American woman to impersonate a man in order to join the army and take part in combat. Deborah Sampson was born in Plympton, Massachusetts, on December 17, 1760. On May 20, 1782, when she was twenty-one, Sampson enlisted in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army at Bellingham as a man named Robert Shurtleff.
For more information about the Women Veterans’ Network, please visit: www.mass.gov/veterans.
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