The Women Marines Association IN-1 chapter President, Connie Hamm, and I went to the dedication of the Sgt Jeanette L. Winters Center for Homeless Female Veterans in Gary, IN on Monday the 22nd of November. You may recall that Sgt Winters was our first ever woman Marine killed in a hostile fire zone. She was also the first woman killed in the war on terror that began with the attacks of 9/11. (She was killed on 9 Jan 2002.) It was a chilly day with rain threatening, but it held off long enough for the dedication.
The homeless center was to open on the 22nd but wasn’t quite ready. They still hope to open by the end of the year. There’s a 2 story building (visible in the group photo – that wall is to have a mural painted on it) that will house up to 14 female veterans in a residential area plus a house that will serve as office space. It’s being built by Webb House Inc, a very small non-profit providing social services. The local AMVETS, DAV, Am Red Cross, and Veterans Center are also involved and had representatives in attendance who spoke at the dedication.
The family in attendance included Sgt Winters’ father, uncle, 2 brothers and a sister. One of the brothers was also a Marine, Matthew Jr. I had met him in 29 Palms several years ago. He’s still there working (as a civilian) in the G-6. The group photo includes, left to right, Matthew Jr, Carmen Wilson of Indianapolis, Carol Mutter, Robert Farmer (Webb House Executive Director), and Jeanette’s sister, father and brother.
Other attendees included:
– Capt Ralph J. Asher, from Indiana, who read Sgt Winters’ Navy Commendation Medal award citation
– SSgt Timothy M. Landwerlen, who was a LCpl in 2001 and worked for Sgt Winters; he had wonderful things to say about her leadership abilities
We didn’t see Pat Tillman’s wife or LtCol Evans who was supposedly coming from SoCal with some rocks from the crash site.
We in Indiana will be keeping an eye on this project and helping any way we can.
Carol A. Mutter, LtGen, USMC (Ret)
Past National President, Women Marines Association