MTSU Honors Women Veterans

Left to right — Kelly Barnes, Anna Maria Butler, Patricia Cooper, Karlie Franks, Anna Mapps-Stanley, Erica McMurray, and Christy Sigler hold their patriotic quilts at MTSU's Women Warriors event. (Photo by Lillian Chapman)

Story by Lillian Chapman | Contributing Writer

7 women veterans who are currently Middle Tennessee State University students were celebrated at the Women Warriors event on Nov. 1 hosted by L’Oreal Stephens, the MTSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women, and Lee Anne Carmack, who represented American Association of University Women.  

“I want to thank those of you being honored for your service,” said Jennifer Vedral-Baron, a guest speaker who served more than 30 years as a Navy nurse and earned the rank of Captain after 20 years of service. She expressed the “difference it can make in people’s lives” in her honorary speech to the women veterans of MTSU. 

Each veteran received a patriotic quilt to honor them for their service in the military and celebrate the sacrifices they have made. Kelly Barnes, a veteran who now owns the Whisk and the Whimsy bakery, received a quilt along with Anna Marie Butler, MTSU student and veteran who has survived leukemia.  

The five other honored veterans consist of Patricia Cooper who served in the Air Force for 20 years, Karlie Franks who now has a master’s degree in social work, Anna Mapps-Stanley who ran track and field in the military, Erica McMurray who was honorably discharged for medical reasons, and Christy Sigler.  

“We as women don’t get enough publicity,” said Joanna Johnson, a current MTSU student and veteran who attended this celebratorily event. After serving in the Navy since 1987, Johnson is well respected and speaks up about obtaining equal respect for women who serve in the military.

To honor these women, MTSU provided a dinner catered and served by student volunteers and free gift bags for those in attendance. A special raffle for the veterans in the audience was held to show support and respect for their bravery and service.

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