Photo by Danny Fulgencio.

VR Small was in the waiting room at the Veterans Affairs hospital when the receptionist announced the doctor was ready to see “Mr. Small.” The six-year Navy veteran corrected the woman, but after being sick all weekend, her croaky voice never reached the receptionist. She called for Mr. Small two more times.

Women in the military still battle discrimination in a society that often forgets their contributions. Texas has one of the largest female veteran populations with more than 180,000 people who still face barriers to service.

“People just assume a veteran is a guy,” Small previously said in the Advocate’s Fierce Females issue. “All my years on Veterans Day, I’m geared up with my Navy hat and Navy jacket, but people still don’t think of me as a veteran. They think I’m wearing my boyfriend’s stuff.”

In 2015, Small founded the Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center. As executive director, she helps veteran women business owners succeed by providing a co-working space with on-site mentors, enrichment activities and opportunities for advancement.

So don’t forget to thank female veterans today and again on June 12, which is recognized as Women Veterans Day in Texas.

Read the full interview with Small here.

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