The following is part of a series of stories which will run in conjunction with an exciting new weekly radio program by AARP Illinois. The weekly program, called "Creating the Good," showcases the stories of inspiring older adults in Illinois, and can be heard statewide on affiliates of the Illinois Radio Network.
Rochelle Crump started the National Women Veterans United (NWVU) to address common struggles faced by women veterans in her community.
“When you come back from serving, there aren’t many people who understand what you went through—and that can lead to feeling isolated,” says Crump.
In 2015, the organization has opened the only Military Women Veterans Center in Illinois, providing services such as navigation of the Veterans Affairs benefits system and wellness support programs to address health needs. The organization’s volunteers also assist with housing, homelessness and small business support to women veterans.
Today, NWVU has about 100 members in the Chicago area, and has other chapters, including one in Rockford, Illinois.
“The goal of the NWVU is to make sure that our women veterans are supported when they return, but also it’s about having that community to lean on that really understands what we’ve been through,” says Crump. “I can’t overstate how important that is.”
Crump served in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam era. She was also the first woman and first African America to serve as the Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Today, she performs in an all-female color guard, a group that performs a ceremonial rendition of posting the “colors” of the national and state flags.
“We are so proud to carry on this tradition that we started in the military,” says Crump. “It’s one more way we can share the importance of the military and our history with our communities."
To learn more about the National Women Veterans United, go to http://nwvu.org/
And to learn more about how you can make a difference in your own community, visit www.createthegood.org