Four notable and outstanding women veterans will be honored and recognized tonight as part of the 2018 Women Veterans Reception at the Leland Stanford Mansion in downtown Sacramento.
U.S. Army veteran Ann Duson of Inland Empire, U.S. Army veteran Kathy Lester of Sacramento, U.S. Air Force veteran Kiyo Sato of Sacramento, and U.S. Navy veteran Melissa Washington of Sacramento will be awarded the 2018 Trailblazer award for their valuable and important contributions made to our nation while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and their continued service to local communities.
“We are proud to recognize four incredible women who demonstrate what it means to serve others, and to lead by example,” said Lindsey Sin, CalVet Deputy Secretary for Women Veterans Affairs. “These women paved the way for future generations of women veterans.”
The reception, which begins at 5:30 p.m., is hosted by CalVet, the Women Veterans Alliance and the City of Sacramento and will feature exhibitions highlighting the influence of women veterans throughout history.
With contributions from the “What do Women Veterans Look Like” campaign, American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) exhibition, and the California Military Department California State Military Museum, guests will get a unique look into the past contributions of women veterans, a peek at present influences and a glimpse into the future.
CalVet will recognize the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the armistice – the day that silenced the guns of World War I – through a series of prints honoring historical female contributions and firsts.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to donate new or gently used business clothing, shoes, and accessories to be distributed to women veterans at the Dress Code Boutique Day in San Diego on November 3. Donations can be made tonight at designated pink bins stationed at entry points of the Leland Stanford Mansion. For more information, click here.
This reception is free and is open to the public; it will include light appetizers and refreshments, thanks to the generosity of the City of Sacramento and the VetFund Foundation. Pre-registration for the reception is required.
To join, register online here or call 916-653-1402.
2018 Trailblazer Award Winners
Ann Reeder-Duson – a U.S. Army Veteran, Ann Reeder-Duson is the Founder and CEO of the Women Veterans Unity Group (WVUG), a non-profit organization that ensures the female veteran community has a continuum of resources by forging partnerships and collaborations with local, state, and federal governments. She is a certified addiction treatment counselor and earned her Associates degrees and certificates in drug and alcohol studies, mental health studies, women studies, and is certified to provide resources for those affected by domestic violence.
Kathy Lester – Raised in Rancho Cordova, Kathy Lester enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school where she attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. She served as a cryptological linguist (Russian) and was cross-trained as a combat medic and range master. Kathy served both stateside and in Korea and Japan while attached to the 373rd and 368th Military Intelligence Battalions. In her military career, she has earned the Combat Lifesaving Medal, the National Defense Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Kiyo Nunneley-Sato – A U.S. Air Force Veteran, venerated author and retired nurse, Kiyo Nunneley-Sato is the eldest of eight children born from a Japanese-American immigrant family who grew up on a farm in the Mather Field area of Rancho Cordova before World War II. She was 19-years-old when President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in February 1942, forcibly relocating Japanese-Americans from their homes. After the war was over, Kiyo and her family eventually came back to Sacramento to rebuild their lives and were one of the fortunate Japanese-American families to retain their land. She later joined the U.S. Air Force, completed a master’s degree in nursing and achieved the rank of Captain in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps.
Melissa Washington – A Navy Veteran, Melissa Washington is the President and Founder of the Women Veterans Alliance (WVA) – the premiere network focused on directly impacting the quality of life for women veterans. She is a disabled veteran small business owner, speaker, author, and award winner. After serving in the U.S. Navy, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and transitioned into a successful career in recruiting and human resources for more than 10 years working for both boutique and global Fortune 500 companies. In 2011, she offered consulting services to businesses and individuals using LinkedIn for researching, recruiting, job seeking, and collaboration. In 2014, she authored the book, “Get Back to Work: Smart & Savvy Real-World Strategies to Make Your Next Career Move.”