GENEVIEVE CHASE: FOUNDER, WOMEN VETERANS ASSOCIATION
In 2003, Genevieve Chase left a successful career in real estate to join the Army Reserve as an Intelligence Soldier working to thwart attacks against U.S. personnel. While deployed in Afghanistan, a car carrying large amounts of explosives plowed into her truck and detonated, causing her and the other passengers to suffer external wounds and traumatic brain injuries. Despite their wounds, her team requested to remain in place and completed their deployment. However, like so many of her fellow soldiers, upon returning home Genevieve suffered from PTSD and became deeply depressed. She struggled with suicidal ideation and turned her energies toward becoming a veteran’s advocate but soon felt minimized by the lack of awareness and resources for female veterans. From that void, Genevieve started American Women Veterans, a nonprofit organization that serves, honors and empowers military women, veterans, and their families from all eras and branches of service. American Women Veterans has advocated to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, worked with members of Congress to lift the policy excluding women from combat, and fought to improve access to adequate and appropriate medical treatment for women veterans at VA hospitals.