Veterans are a big deal in our household. My father was in the Air Force. I was born in a military hospital. My brother served in the Navy. My oldest son is an Army Cavalry Scout and returned from Afghanistan right before Christmas last year. I have the greatest respect for service men—and women.
The vets in my life happen to be male. But the military is made up of a wide variety of people, many of them of the female persuasion. I’ve always had amazing respect for women in our military, and not just because the work is physically exhausting. It’s tough on a man to leave behind a new baby or toddlers who might not remember them when they get back from deployment. Women have to leave behind the same children, but sometimes have to end breastfeeding early in the process. They can carry a child in their body, give birth, and be carrying deployment gear before the year is over. I can’t imagine that kind of sacrifice. Which is why a new company, started by a woman veteran, is something I want to promote as much as possible.
Nadine Noky is a veteran. She served in Iraq in 2005, leaving behind a four-month-old baby boy. She’s proud of her service and proud to be a veteran. But, she got tired of having no options for casual clothing that represented her veteran status. They were all men’s clothes, and the slogans and sayings were all male soldier related.
Being the awesome woman that she is, she decided to fix the problem herself. She learned how to screen print and got to work. She called her company Lady Brigade and not only does she screen print the shirts herself, she packages and ships them too. Here are some of the masterpieces she came up with:
Check out the Lady Brigade website for more styles. And, be sure to join the Lady Brigade Facebook page, for interesting tidbits that relate to women in the military. On the Lady Brigade website you’ll find a gallery of products, but you’ll also find a blog that most veterans, male and female, will relate to. Check out this list of 8 things only a veteran who uses the VA health system will understand.
Noky quickly realized that not only is there a need for apparel, women vets needed their own version of emotional support too. As she was starting her shirt company, the Facebook page she’d created for it turned into a gathering place for women who have served. Noky often saw that women sometimes don’t realize the terminology refers to them, too. “Many women vets don’t self-identify as veterans. Some don’t even know they are veterans. They just don’t associate themselves with the idea of it the way men do.”
Noky has organized the first ever Florida Women Veterans Conference, an event designed to “offer quality services and programs” for women vets and “ensure they have the resources and ability to lead healthy and productive lives”. The conference will commence April 17-19 in Sarasota Florida. Here is the website, if you know any women veterans who might like to attend.