By Cheri Fisher and Su Phelps Photos by Su Phelps

The 39th Annual National Convention for the Society of Military Widows was held on October 15th– October 19th 2017 was at the South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa.

The Convention started with a “Welcome Reception and entertainment” in the Monterey Bay room.

Monday was filled with meeting and workshops and speakers. Monday Morning Ernest B. Williams presented a slide show and spoke about the Nevada Atomic Test Site. Then at the luncheon were Retired Admiral Moira Flanders, Director of the Office of Survivors Assistance in the Dept of Veterans Affairs and Major General James T. Jackson U.S. Army (Retired) Director of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, spoke on the Certificate of Honor Program. This program established the Commemorative Partner Program, an organizationally-based, hometown-centric initiative to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring Vietnam veterans and their families. The Certificate of Honor have been designed to honor and give special recognition to four categories, Former Living American Military POW, Unaccounted For, In Memory Of, and Deceased Vietnam Veteran’s Surviving Spouse.

Tuesday was filled with workshops the first one was “Freedom Has a Face” presented by Joe Lachnit. Freedom has a face is a website that profiles of fallen heroes ranging from the Civil War to the Global War on Terror. He invited everyone to come and pay homage to the fallen. The second was “We Can Grow, or We Can Go” by Arlene Murray which was a motivational workshop on purpose, decision making, maintenance, leadership style, volunteer service, and priorities which all leads to success. The evening wrapped up in the hospitality room with Richard Carreon, Retired US Army Staff Sergeant with the “Contributions of Military Widows to the Military and Veteran Culture”.

Wednesday was started off with Kelly Folliard who is the Transition Services Site Manager for the USO Las Vegas, which assists our service members as the transition out of the military. Wednesday evening Bill Krause presented the introduction to the Tao.

Thursday was the SMW meeting of the membership, where they discussed and approved the minutes from 2016, went over old and new business, discussed the plans for next year and ended the evening with a banquet and entertainment by Alex Christopher.

Individuals that received the Surviving Spouse Certificate and pin are as follows: Bobbie McLagan, Darlene G Webb, Mary E. Wilson, Patricia M Hersbach, Martha Yount, Monique Robert, Patricia Lee Walker, Elda Diaz, Naomi Harrington, SFC Georgia F. Lyles, Marian J Phillips, Denise Carr-Deramus, Martha Ann Bell, Grace LaMacchia, Liz Wylie, and Jacquie Simmons.