WINCHESTER, Ky. (FOX 56) – One year ago Saturday, Phyllis Abbott and Lady Veterans Connect opened their doors in Winchester to any and all female veterans as a means to provide them with transitional support from service, as well as prevent homelessness.
Over the course of the last 365 days, they have kept one mission in mind.
“It is a place where they can come and stay and heal,” says Executive Director Phyllis Abbott. “We try to provide a homelike environment for them to do that in and to help them to prepare for jobs, getting back on their feet again and restoring relationships with their family members.”
Abbott said veterans who partake in the programs Lady Veterans Connect provides range in age from late their 40s to their early 70s and will live on-site anywhere from six months to a year as they gain the skills necessary to get a job and live on their own.
What brings these women to Lady Veterans Connect is a wide scope.
“The ones that come to us, a lot of them have experienced trauma in the military,” Abbott said. “Some with trauma from before they were in the military.”
The main building for Lady Veterans Connect is in dedication to Abbott’s mother, whom she credits for inspiring her to help others.
When Abbott was in the process of establishing Lady Veterans Connect over five years ago, she quickly realized female veterans were the group she wanted to help the most.
“Our facility, only other beds in the state of Kentucky designated for women veterans are five beds in a homeless shelter and that’s just not acceptable,” Abbott said. “There is a lot more for men. We have over 24,000 women veterans living in Kentucky.”
There is no paid staff at Lady Veterans Connect, it is entirely volunteer-based and the work that the organization does could not be done without those volunteers.
“Absolutely essential, couldn’t do it without them because we don’t have any paid staff,” said Abbott. “We try to make sure everything right now goes to our programs and services and our support we give the veterans and the community.”
Everything in the facility from beds to computers and everything in between has been donated by community members across the Commonwealth.
It is that support that at the end of the day will make Lady Veterans Connect all worthwhile as long as they can accomplish one thing.
“It’s whenever you see us change one life,” said Abbott. “That makes it all worthwhile. If we never change but one life it is all worthwhile.”
If you are interested in donating to or volunteering with Lady Veterans Connect, you can find that information here.