Kentucky Army National Guard Soldier takes on challenge of a lifetime

June 1, 2015 | By kentuckyguard

Iraq, Afghanistan Veteran Named Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs First Women Veterans Coordinator

Courtesy Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs [caption id="attachment_25139" align="aligncenter" width="578"]
VIRIN: 160407-N-ZY298-16555
In the spirit of the Citizen-Soldier, LuWanda Knuckles represents women veterans with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs and as a NCO with Kentucky National Guard. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond) FRANKFORT, Ky.  – In addition to her duties as an Army National Guard Soldier, Sgt. LuWanda Knuckles has taken on a new challenge as Kentucky’s new women veterans coordinator. The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA) created its first women veterans coordinator position to address the specific needs of Kentucky’s 33,000 women veterans. Women veterans differ from their male counterparts not only demographically (more likely to be single parents, for example) but in needed services (female-oriented health care) and likelihood of seeking benefits. “This is really a dream job for me,” said Knuckles, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “As a veteran myself, I know how important it is that someone is working directly with woman veterans to ensure they obtain the benefits and services they have earned.” [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="360"]Knuckles Army National Guard Soldier Sgt. LuWanda Knuckles and her son, Zavian. Knuckles has taken on a new challenge as Kentucky’s new women veterans coordinator. (Courtesy photo) “We searched a long time for just the right person for the job of women veterans coordinator,” said KDVA Commissioner Heather French Henry. “We are fortunate to have LuWanda in this critical position.” In one of her first public appearances Knuckles and KDVA participated in Women Veterans Day at Churchill Downs just before the Kentucky Derby.  The day featured KDVA’s new women veterans video on the big screen, a presentation from the Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund to the Athena Sisters organization for military women, an information booth on benefits and services, and more. Knuckles, a Louisville native, joined the Kentucky Army National Guard in 2003, while she was still in high school. She volunteered for her first deployment to Iraq in 2007, and five years later volunteered for a deployment to Afghanistan. During that tour, she worked with the “Women of Empowerment” program. She remains a member of the Kentucky Army National Guard as a human resource specialist. In addition to a variety of military training and education, Knuckles attends Jefferson Community and Technical College with plans to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Louisville in the fall of 2016. Knuckles lives in Shelbyville with her son and two nephews. When she is not supporting her children at sporting events, she enjoys reading and exercising.  

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