Our mission is to let all veterans know they are not alone, and we as a community are ready to work together to equip you with necessities for life. Each one, reach one, teach one.

  1. Recognize, honor, celebrate, and empower women Veterans.
  2. Provide an avenue for Veteran community networking and support

The photo was taken by Ed Junod on March 19, 2018 when Freddie and Ed were conceiving a 2018 Women Veterans event in Knoxville.  Freddie made Ed promise that we would establish a Women Veteran event.  On April 5, 2018, six days after Freddie’s passing, Emily Hager, Cindy Winterberger and Ed Junod took Freddie’s vision and created a new Council Committee:  Women Veterans Committee and developed a Women Veterans Summit in honor of Freddie J. Owens.  The vision and mission was successfully completed on October 4, 2108.

During the inaugural Summit, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Redemption Church Pastor Ed King were the first two to receive the Freddie J. Owens (FJO) Memorial Award.  The awards were presented by Freddie’s family and VTVT.  The FJO Award will be presented annual to one veteran and one civilian advocate.  2019 women nominees are currently being accepted and will be honored at the summit.

The 2020 Council’s Women Veterans Committee is:

  • Dr. Emily Hager, Committee Chairwoman
  • Cindy Winterberger, Committee Co-Chairwoman
  • Ed Junod, Committee member


Freddie’s favorite hat

The initial and primary goal of the Freddie J. Owens Women Veteran Summit is based off of an interview of Mr. Freddie before he passed where he stated that in the year of 2018 women veteran recognition will be his top priority. Mr. Freddie realized through his own encounters that many times the veteran in the family is mistaken to be the man. He also identified that men oftentimes wear hats while women do not wear accessories that show their veteran status. This year we are giving every woman veteran a sterling silver bracelet to demonstrate their veteran status.

Unfortunately, there are many women veterans throughout the community that do not realize the medical benefits available to them in the Knoxville area, and they still unnecessarily travel hours for appointments. In our meetings at the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council with the local Department of Veteran Affairs executives, we recognize that there are many programs for men and women available. One of the greatest obstacles is communication and dissemination of information. We are opening the discussion between the Department of Veteran Affairs and the community.

Additionally, we feel it is important to rebuild trust in the Department of Veteran Affairs by recognizing that they cannot provide everything for veterans on their own. The community plays an essential role in caring for our veterans. We are also opening the discussion for collaborations between non-government organizations that will build a stronger community-based foundation. We veterans need to know that we are not isolated, but an entire network of people are ready and willing to support us when we need it most.