Rochelle Crump has always had a heart for her veteran family. She served in the Women’s Army Corps during the Vietnam War (ERA) and she received a National Defense Service Medal for honorable service during a period of national emergency (Vietnam) and a Certificate of Recognition from the Secretary of Defense for military service during the Cold War, and worked for 23 years for the Department of Veteran Affairs. Having witnessed the difficulty facing many women veterans upon returning home, Rochelle and several women veterans founded the National Women Veterans United (NWVU) in 2005, a volunteer-based organization for women veterans and those in active duty, reserve duty, and national guard.
The NWVU is one of few organizations across the nation with a mission that includes assisting women veterans in navigating the complicated systems of Veterans Affairs Hospitals and benefits. The organization also assists disabled women veterans through peer support programs and helps women veterans who are homeless or housing insecure to find housing, management services, and wellness support programs to help them get back on their feet. They also work with many women veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), depression and other mental health challenges, promoting hope, wellness and recovery.
In 2015, NWVU opened the only Military Women Veterans Center in the state of Illinois. On September 7, 2019, NWVU renamed the center in honor of Sergeant Simone A. Robinson, an Illinois soldier who died as a result of an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Sergeant Robinson’s daughter was 2 years old at the time, and the NWVU has mentored her and helped her family for the last seven years.
The NWVU is a “voice for the voiceless.” “We believe we are one voice, one vision. That it can never be about one of us, it has to always be about all of us,” she told the Red Cross. “Our goal is to make sure that women do not get left out of history.”
Since COVID-19, Rochelle and the NWVU have been providing virtual wellness checks, groceries and bill assistance for veteran and their families. “Although our office is closed…we are following up with more than 400 military women veterans to let them know that we are here to assist,” she told the Red Cross.
Rochelle was to receive her award at the Red Cross of Illinois’ annual Heroes Breakfast, which was cancelled because of coronavirus. We hope you are inspired by her story, and consider donating to the Red Cross at www.redcross.org/ChicagoHero. Right now, the impact of your gift will be doubled by a generous match.
Better is honored to be a sponsor of the Heroes Breakfast and to collaborate with the Red Cross to share the inspiring stories of all the 2020 Heroes too.
You’re Invited: Virtual Heroes Event
We hope you can also join us for a special virtual event to celebrate our 2020 Class of Heroes, and hear directly from Celena Roldán, CEO of the American Red Cross of Illinois. We promise this will be an uplifting start to your day!
This virtual event is on Thursday, May 7th from 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. Please make sure to register online to attend.