Welcome Proudly She Served Influencers

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Sarah Fischer
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The Proudly She Served project is handpicking 8-10 select Influencers to team with us to increase the awareness about the Proudly She Served project. Below are some of the Influencers who have recently joined our team.  We will be accepting a few more Influencers to join our team over the next month and welcome any recommendations. Look for posts about each of these amazing Influencers over the next few months.

Jenna Carlton - Jenna Carlton joined the Navy in 2013 and served four years as an Aerographer’s Mate. In 2020, while job searching, Jenna became active in the online veteran community and started a support group for younger veterans and transitioning service members called The Millennial Veterans. The group offers resources, shared experiences, and a lot of laughs through online interactions making veterans feel less isolated and normalizing the hardships of becoming a civilian again. The Millennial Veterans share amazing stories of veterans and keep positive conversations flowing through weekly interviews on IG Live called Vet Chat

Kerri Jeter - Kerri Jeter, Founder of Freedom Sisters Media, served in the U.S. Army for 12-years, starting as a Private First Class and exiting as a senior Captain.  Kerri won the prestigious title Ms. Veteran America 2015, advocating for her Sisters-in-Arms that had fallen on hard times. After her own journey of self-discovery and embracing her entrepreneurial spirit Kerri, launched Freedom Sisters Media to create content, connection, and community for women beyond the uniform.

Dee Woolridge - Dee Woolridge’s plan was to serve four years in the Navy but her journey turned into a great love and career of leadership of over 30 years. Dee is now an international speaker, speaking about leadership, mindset, communication and resilience.  She is also an award-winning author, corporate trainer, workshop facilitator,  Certified Clinical and Interpersonal Hypnotherapist, Certified Spiritual Counselor and Life Coach, and Certified Presenter. She is the founder of Heart Centered Institute, co-founder of Hands of Heart – an organization that promotes entrepreneurship to young adults on the autism spectrum.

Ray Leonard & Joy Wright - Dr. Joy Bloom Wright is an Organizational Development Consultant and Keynote Speaker with more than twenty years of military and corporate consulting and leadership experience. Her areas of expertise range from sexual harassment prevention, diversity training, team building, strategy consulting, leadership training and organizational change. Joy is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and one of the first women to assist with the integration of women on aircraft carriers. She served as an active-duty Naval Flight Officer, flying the F-14 Tomcat. Joy co-founded Launch Team Consulting with Ray Leonard Jr – motivational speaker, consultant, and son of legendary boxer, Sugar Ray Leonard and they have teamed up to offer keynotes highlighting topics about facing adversity and rising above and overcoming challenges. Ray has over twenty years domestic and international experience as a professional manager and organizational consultant in the sports and entertainment indus

Jennifer Foxworthy - Jennifer Foxworthy is a military combat veteran, business owner, distinguished Toastmaster, an award-winning inspirational influencer, published author, as well as a domestic violence activist and advocate.  Jennifer flew on three different aircraft as an Aircrewman in the Navy and flew combat missions, logged over 3,700 flight hours and received 4 Air Medals. Jennifer founded Inspirationally Speaking, LLC, which gives her a platform to inspire, motivate, and empower thousands of people around the country to make changes in their life so they can walk boldly in their purpose.  Jennifer is the founder and CEO of Unstoppable You Ministries, Inc., hosting the “Unstoppable You Conference” throughout the country as well as the host for Living Unshackled ON Purpose television show.

Angela Waller – Angela Waller served 7 years in the Army as a Reserve Career Counselor.  After leaving the Army, Angela became certified as a Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach, Advanced Level Registered Yoga Teacher and is also a published writer. Angela founded the nonprofit organization, Angel Rain Foundation Inc., and most recently due to the Covid-19 pandemic, her organization has been able to provide personal care gift boxes and groceries to numerous families, churches and group home facilities in several states. Angela also founded the Green Wall Yoga & Wellness Studio, where she serves as a Meditation Teacher and provides wellness services to individuals, groups and corporations.  

Tara Carr - Tara started her military career as an Army interrogator and retired in 2020 as a Lieutenant Colonel.  Tara served in numerous leadership positions throughout her 25-year career. Some notable highlights include becoming an Army Foreign Area Officer to China with an assignment to the Defense Attaché Office, Beijing, China. Tara earned a second master’s degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School and went on to work at the Defense Intelligence Agency and at the Director of National Intelligence Advanced Campaign Cell. Tara deployed to Afghanistan where she  served as the key leader representative to the Commander of U.S. Special Forces, working with the only Afghan female special operations unit in Afghanistan.

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A special Welcome to our Influencers from the Proudly She Served, Executive Director, Steve Alpert

Thank you for choosing to join us to advance the Proudly She Served project to honor women who have served so courageously in uniform.  You are a thought leader, a person who has earned considerable respect among your peers.  We are happy you joined us.  In fact we are honored you would think enough of our project to offer your time and influence. Welcome aboard!

Our twelve women are but a tiny representative of all the women who have served and continue to serve our nation.  We all know this is way overdue — to offer recognition and gratitude — to the girls next door who one day went to a recruiting station or entered on of our vaunted military academies to serve and protect the United States Constitution.  They had no idea what would be asked to do, yet they all said, “I’m here to serve, what’s my mission?”  

Years ago I was introduced to Dawn Halfaker, West Point graduate who deployed to Iraq where Dawn sustained injuries that led to her losing he right arm at the shoulder. After we spent some time together over lunch, I asked Dawn if she would allow me to paint her portrait.  I found Dawn to be brilliant, sensitive, and incredibly resilient.  Dawn accepted.

At that time I was embroiled in a series of paintings called, “Full Honors” depicting a Full Honors funeral ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery that now hangs in the Pentagon.  A few months after completion, I dove into the portrait of Dawn Halfaker.

While I was working on Dawn’s portrait, it occurred to me there ought to be more paintings of women veterans in this series, as this is an underserved population of our military.  I was introduced to Veteran Naval Aviator Linda Maloney, and Linda sparked to the idea. We expanded the series to twelve paintings, and created the Proudly She Served project.  The mission of giving recognition to women who served never changed, that has been our constant

For me personally, to have been able to have met such fine people has been an amazing blessing.  To a woman, I can say each and every one of them is pure hearted, and have had to have called upon to summon courage they probably did not know they had under the extreme pressures they found themselves faced with.  Every woman I met has been generous with their time and thoughts. They are the true example of American Patriots; the very best of us.  It has been an honor to have gotten know them all, and to bring their life stories into oil paint.

I consider each portrait as a life story.  A picture is worth millions of words.  It is the job of the artist to tell that person’s story.  To see in their faces, in the eyes, their triumph, the difficulties they’ve had to face, and the steely resolve to overcome adversity that fate threw their way.  I admire each and every one of the women in these portraits.

The final portrait is Bee Haydu, who served as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP)during WWII.  Bee turned 100 when I began her portrait.  I never met Bee in person but worked on her portrait from a photograph provided by her daughter.  While in the midst of making Bee’s portrait, Bee passed away.It was a very unusual experience for Bee to have passed while her image was up on my easel. Somehow it felt very much like the painting was very much a part of the very end of her extraordinary life.  The portrait of Bee Haydu holds a special place in my heart and considering Bee’s portrait was #12, the final portrait of the series, it holds even more significance. This confluence of events made it seem like the Proudly She Served project was being blessed by some kind of Higher Power.  It was the perfect way to complete the series paintings that took a solid three years to complete.  May you rest in peace, Bee, and offer blessings to all women who served and still serve with such pride.

Best Regards,

Steve

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