Retired vet helps women veterans navigate benefits system

This is Texas women veteran's month and that is our focus.

There are about 188,000 women veterans in Texas, the second most of any state.

We're having a conversation with Angela Shinn the Women Veteran's State Coordinator with the Texas Veterans Commission. Her charge is helping those thousands women veterans.

Angela Shinn has perfect qualifications to help women veterans.

A West Point grad, a retired captain, she grew up watching her career military father fight for his benefits.

"For me it wasn't a job. It was a calling because I understood when they said 'Issues for Women' and the family.. I was like ‘Oh I know that! This is hard but you're not that different you just don't know how to work it," Shinn said.

She does know how to work it both for the vets and the hundreds of groups and organizations that provide services to women veterans.

"Once you know what your rights are and what's affordable and available to you. Then you can go get them...but if you don't know you'll never look for them, but a lot of them sit back and wait or don't say anything because they don't know they have a voice," Shinn said.

Shinn's been there, even as a well-informed and well educated officer when she got out of the army she too was overwhelmed with the transition to civilian life.

She didn't know what benefits she was entitled to and where she could go beyond the VA for her re-starting her life.

Now her mission is about outreach--to educate the vets and educate service groups on how to better connect and serve women vets.

So while her service to the army is over, her duty to women vets remains strong.

"You have these women who've sacrificed their time and service for our beliefs. Then we need to figure out how to come back and become active members in the community, find the jobs they need to raise the families and be moms and wives and resume their roles in the community," Shinn said.

If you are or know a female vet and they have any questions or need help with almost anything a great place to go is the Texas Veterans Commission.

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