The Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (VHSO) recently recognized the service and sacrifices of WWII Veteran Harriet Daniel and celebrated her 100th birthday.
On May 13, Assistant Medical Center Director James Warren presented Daniel (pictured above) with a special coin at the Gene Taylor Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Springfield, Missouri.
“I feel like I’ve lived like the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.”
“I feel like a celebrity,” she said. “I haven’t done anything special. I feel like I’ve lived like the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Daniel was born in 1921 when bread was 12 cents a pound, a dozen eggs cost 47 cents and the average household income was about $3,300 a year.
She volunteered to serve with the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC). Six months later, WAAC became the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and the law was changed to allow women to receive benefits.
Wedding dress sewn from a parachute
During WWII, Daniel worked as a teletype operator in Italy, serving from March 1943 to July 1945. During her time overseas, she met her husband and her roommate sewed her wedding dress from a parachute.
Some 350,000 women served in the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II, both at home and abroad. Today, there are approximately two million women Veterans, 10% of the total Veteran population.
Women are the fastest growing demographic group among Veterans and account for more than 30% of the increase in Veterans who served between 2014 and 2018.
“I have a lot to look forward to.”
Accompanied by her son Tommy to her birthday celebration at the Springfield VA, Daniel still has her driver’s license. When asked her plans for the future: “I have a lot to look forward to. I hope to celebrate with you again next year.”
All VA health care systems ensure that every woman Veteran has access to a VA primary care provider and a women’s health Patient Aligned Care Team who can meet all of her primary care needs.
This includes prevention and care for acute and chronic disease, gender-specific care such as gynecology services, reproductive health care, and contraceptive services. Also mental health care in a continuous patient-clinician relationship.
If you are a female Veteran not enrolled for VA health care and would like more information, call 855-VA-WOMEN (855-829-6636). Call, chat or text are all available.
Crystal L. Davis is a public affairs officer, and April Eilers is a visual information specialist, both with the Fayetteville VAMC.