Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA --
Miss United States of America 2016, Army Reserve Capt. Deshauna Barber was welcomed to The Clubs at Quantico, Jan. 23 for the 7th Annual Salute to the Armed Forces lunch hosted by the Prince William County Chamber of Commerce (PWCC) Veterans Council.
Barber spoke of the responsibility civilians have to the 1 percent—the military men and women who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice themselves for their country.
According to Barber, in an industry where Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, mental illness, unemployment, suicide and Veteran Affairs (VA) backlog are rarely discussed, she used her platform to invoke change and give people a kick in the right direction because it was her responsibility.
“I got tired of talking about lipstick and the red carpets,” Barber said. “I wanted to force the conversation.”
She said her responsibility was to eliminate the disconnect between those who have no ties to the military by talking about more than 220,000 unemployed veterans, the 39,400 homeless veterans, the 20 veterans who commit suicide a day and thousands of veterans awaiting treatment from VA.
“Military platforms are more than slogans, but a call to action to put your feet on the ground,” Barber said.
Barber believes by talking with employers and community officials about these platforms true change can occur.
PWCC boasts the representation of more than 70,000 employees and promotes collaboration with other organizations that educate, train, mentor and provide opportunities for veteran employment.
However, where the lunch was a representation of how far PWCC has come in helping veterans and their families find employment, it was also a reminder of how far they have left to go.
According to the United States Department of Labor – Veterans Employment and Training Services, this past December marked the lowest national veteran unemployment rate in more than a decade at less than 4 percent.
For more information about PWCC Veterans Council, meetings are held the second Thursday, monthly, 9–10 a.m., at the Prince William Chamber Headquarters.
For meeting information contact Suzanne Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.