This has been a dream that was a long-time coming. From the earliest days of the organization, through a deployment, and subsequent "Founder Burnout," it is finally here.
It's modest and nothing fancy but the important thing is that we're putting one boot in front of the other and taking this march in one step at a time.
The idea of starting something like this has been overwhelming since my return from the last deployment but it really couldn't wait any longer. We are still a tiny organization run by yours truly, a contractor that helps us with social media, and an ever-dedicated group of advisors who have never given up on the vision for this organization.
Until very recently, we have been an all-volunteer organization, the founders having put in tens of thousands of dollars of personal money and savings to keep the organization going since it's conception in 2008.
Please bear with us as we explore this journey and work hard to bring you the products you've all been waiting for. The first time we tried this, we sold out of our offered inventory in less than two hours! Not only did our website crash but PayPal wasn't able to keep up with all of the orders and it was nothing short of a mini-disaster. We were so anxious to get the orders shipped when the dust settled that Virginia (co-founder) and I ended up lugging a suitcase full of AWV shirts from Washington D.C. to Phoenix, Arizona where we snuck away from Battle Assembly (Reserve Drill) during lunch to make a desperate run to the post office!
As stressful as those times were, I refer back to them for lessons learned and as fond memories that are a part of the earliest days of the AWV legacy...
It has been a wild and crazy ride, this founding a non-profit thing. I didn't grow up dreaming of starting or running one and I often joke that I was "knocked up by a nonprofit" sitting at Popover Café in NYC with about a dozen other women veterans, mostly strangers, who'd answered a random open invitation I'd put on Facebook. Despite the challenges, heartbreaks, and stress (I'm sure all the gray hair I have in my mid-30's is all due to AWV!), it is a dream come true. We've achieved more than I ever dreamed in far less time then I'd have ever believed was possible.
We are building an organization, a legacy, that will survive all of us. One day, there will be no more Vietnam veterans just as there will be no more Iraq and Afghanistan combat vets... but from the earliest days of this country to the days our bootsteps fade from this earth, there will always be American Women Veterans.
Your Sister in Service,
American Women Veterans®