BY MARY WICOFF
DANVILLE — The face of the military is changing, as more women join and serve overseas. As a sign of the changing times, the first Women Veterans Baby Shower is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. Tuesday in Room 101, Building 125 at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care Center.
Women veterans and their spouses are invited to the event, especially those who are pregnant or who have had a child within the last two years. Other people are invited to stop by and congratulate the moms.
The shower is being hosted by the Department of Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary, in conjunction with the Federal Women’s Program.
Such showers have been conducted nationally, but this is the first one in Danville, said Ebun Osaze, manager of the Women Veterans Program and the Women’s Health Clinic at the VA.
“A younger veteran population is coming home and having babies,” she said. “A lot of female vets in transition can use help from the community. That’s why we are trying to fill the gap.”
Cake and punch will be served at the shower, and veterans will be given items to help with their children. For example, Osaze said she’s received donations of 15 cribs, five high chairs, five or six car seats, blankets, gift cards and other items. People are welcome to bring items or monetary gifts to Room 111 in Building 125.
The program also will discuss the importance of placing car seats properly, and other tips. For example, Osaze said people shouldn’t buy a car seat at yard sales unless they know it’s a recent purchase. If a seat is two or three years old or older, it might not meet today’s safety requirements, she said.
Women who have served in the armed forces are eligible for a variety of benefits, and the VA actively encourages women to use them.
In recent years, the local VA has been increasing its services to female veterans, Osaze said. There’s a maternity program in place, and the VA covers maternal care and the first seven days of a newborn’s care. Other services include gynecology, breast exams and mammography, reproductive health care, menopause treatment, and primary care services, such as annual examinations, cholesterol management, thyroid screening and many other specialized services.
Osaze said the VFW Auxiliary and the VA plan to have another baby shower in May.
Donations for the baby shower are being accepted in Room 111, Library Building 125, at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care Center. Gift cards and non-monetary gift donations are welcomed. The VA offices are closed Monday in observance of Columbus Day.
For more information, call 544-4286.