BEAUMONT, Texas — Area veterans created a new non-profit organization to provide a community for women who served in the military and to uplift their sisters-in-arms.
Jonetta Andrepont is one of many veterans who call Southeast Texas home after serving in the military.
“I retired from the military in 2004 and moved to Southeast Texas, and I realize that, you know, I sort of felt like a fish out of water,” Andrepont said.
The military helps soldiers transition to civilian life, but each experience is unique.
“I was so used to preparing my sailors for the next step, and for their career, and for their transition, but in doing that, I really didn't prepare myself, because I didn't know it was gonna be so difficult,” Andrepont said.
After serving 20 years as an aircraft mechanic, oftentimes dangling off the sides of jets, Andrepont found herself feeling like she was dangling alone.
“I was looking for resources, and I was looking for like peers and a networking group,” Andrepont said.
Andrepont eventually became a member of the American Legion Post 33. Still, the veteran felt like she was missing sisterhood.
“Sometimes, we try to find our way. We don't feel like we belong,” Andrepont said. “You may not belong to, like, the male groups”
Just as she felt the call to serve, she felt called to answer the question of why different organizations similar to the American Legion were needed.
"A lot of people try to understand, 'Well, why do you need an organization like that,'" Andrepont said. "We have our own unique differences and challenges."
Andrepont and two more retired female soldiers formed a non-profit organization to help their sisters-in-arms have a safe place to communicate and navigate resources.
“Boots, Bringing Out Our Troop Sisters,” Andrepont said. “We're growing, and it's new to Southeast Texas. I don't think there's another women veteran organization”
The group is making it its mission to help every veteran that needs it.
“If you need assistance resources, a friend, someone to listen to you, we're there,” Andrepont said.
Anyone who is a veteran or knows one is encouraged to call the American Legion at 409-833-9593 so they can get help finding resources or simply have someone to talk to.