Veteran Females United unveils statue at Veterans Park

A 12-foot, 6-inch granite statue of a female soldier now stands resolute at Veterans Park, a tribute to the women who fearlessly serve or have served in the military.

The statue was unveiled yesterday morning by Veteran Females United, a Brownsville group started in 2013 by five University of Texas at Brownsville student-veterans.

The memorial is a culmination of various individuals, businesses and organizations coming together.

“It was a feeling that is indescribable. I feel like it couldn’t have been done without everyone’s help,” said Arlene Laboy, president of the VFU.

Several dignitaries were in attendance for the unveiling, including State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, Secretary of State Carlos Cascos and city commissioners Jessica Tetreau and Cesar De Leon.

“This statue is a symbol that will forever remind us of the sacrifices they had to make,” said Marisela Cortez, district director for Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville.

Lucio said it was a wonderful opportunity to recognize a critical part of what makes the Lower Rio Grande Valley so great.

“Thanks to this statue, the Veterans Park now gives equal tribute to the men and the women that gave their lives for our freedom,” Lucio said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to come together to show the world that we … will always be indivisible and that we have the justice that everyone deserves.”

Cascos said the statue was one of the many things Brownsville should be proud of and issued a challenge to the community.

One more group deserves recognition, he said.

“Let’s use this park as an example. Let’s create a symbol that honors the family and children that stayed behind while these veterans sacrificed their lives, their education, their livelihoods and who knows what else,” Cascos said.

VFU was established as a non-profit in March. Its mission is to engage and empower female veterans to live successful lives, Laboy said. Since its inception, the organization has grown to more than 30 members from all branches of the military.

Women veterans have a unique set of issues, Laboy said. They often are single mothers, sometimes students, struggling to readjust to civilian life.

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