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Old Clark Co. elementary school opens to help female veterans

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 9:08 PM EST
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Winchester, Ky. (WKYT) -In this country there are nearly two million female veterans, women who have proudly served our country.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says more and more female veterans are becoming part of a growing population, the homeless.

Now after years of hard work, the founder of Lady Veterans Connect has a home waiting for them inside an old Clark County elementary school.

Inside what was once the old Trapp Elementary School on Irvine Road, there is new life again.

The stars and stripes wave proudly high above the building, a beacon of sorts to those who are tired and weary. Inside Phyllis Abbott is ready to greet those feeling that way with arms open wide.

Several years ago she embarked on a journey to reach out to a group close to hear heart. “All of my family was veterans and we grew up knowing you serve your veterans and you honor your veterans,” said Phyllis Abbott. Abbott dreamed big, 22,000 square feet big when she decided to turn the old school into transitional housing for homeless female veterans. “When they become homeless, they definitely unless it’s Salvation Army or something like that they have no place to go and that doesn’t give them a chance to heal and get the support they need for long term and make them successful again in life,” said Abbott. Our cameras have been there as volunteers worked to get this new facility ready to serve women.

With enough space for 32 women, Abbott has tried to make it feel inviting, but while she is ready to open her doors, COVID-19 has changed how many she can serve safely. “We hope right now with COVID going on like it is to be able to house maybe four or five women initially, for the first few months,” said Abbott. In her years of serving female veterans through Lady Veterans Connect Abbott has seen women of all ages fall on hard times, many of them she says have one thing in common. “What we find out in most cases is they were traumatized in the military in some way,” said Abbott. Through countless donations and fundraising the home created here is meant to be a safe place to heal.

It’s something Phyllis Abbott thinks is the least she could do for those women who answered a calling of their own. “I’m just passionate about seeing women turn their lives around because they gave so much of their life for our country,” said Abbott.

Since founding Lady Veterans Connect, Abbott has helped connect 500 women with the resources they need.

On Veterans Day she is planning a virtual program, Honoring Our She’roes from 4:30 to 6:30.

To honor all current and former service women, she is encouraging people to send in a photo of female veterans in their families.

The deadline to submit is Sunday November 8, 2020.

To register for the event or submit pictures go to lv-connect.org

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