VFW Post 12097 started in July 2010 in suburban Buffalo, New York. Its charter membership included thirty-four women and eight men. Today it has a membership of 49, 40 of whom are women. The Buffalo post is the second-ever started by women. The first was founded in 1995 in Topeka, Kansas by female National Guard members who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The focus of VFW Post 12097 is not only on the needs of female Veterans, but also younger Veteran issues such as educational benefits. Renee DeRouche, 46, of Orchard Park, N.Y., is the commander of VFW Post 12097. “Our age range for our post is late 20s to mid 40s for the most part,” said DeRouche, who has spent 27 years full and part-time in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves and National Guard, including time in the Middle East as part of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to Jerry Newberry, VFW director of communications, with women playing a growing role in the nation’s military, the organization expects to see more posts started by female Veterans, as well as more women playing leadership roles.
For more information, please see: www.militarytimes.com/news/2011/04/usat-women-only-vfw-042511w.