INDIANAPOLIS — RTV6 presented the January Jefferson Award to Dr. Dorothy Simpson-Taylor, a woman who has made it her mission to shine a light on the stories of female veterans.
Military service has been a point of pride for people from coast to coast. For a group of women it is important to them to continue to share their stories of service that often get neglected.
Dr. Doty Simpson-Taylor is a retired psychologist, faculty member, and administrator at several universities, including Purdue and Indiana University. However, regardless of her retirement status, she continues to serve female veterans through the Sister Soldier Network, to share the stories of these unsung heroes.
Doty Simpson-Taylor, a Vietnam era Air Force Veteran, lives life with one mission.
People need to invest in one another," says Simpson-Taylor. "I have spent over 50 years working on ways to invest in people who have served in the military."
She works on behalf of women veterans and their families.
"Everybody deserves an opportunity to be heard," states Simpson-Taylor.
The veteran retired from her role in education in 2010, but she continued her conversations on what was really important to her: women veteran issues.
"Some of the issues had to do with military sexual trauma, some had to do with health issues that women veterans were experiencing as a result of being in the military, whether if it was in combat or not," explains Simpson-Taylor.
"There are certain things that happen, and folks don't listen."
So, she created a network that connects female veterans to a listening ear to resources to help them and their families.
"Soldier Network is an organization of a group of women coming together to just kind of talk about veterans and also to share what we know about veterans with the public," says Simpson-Taylor.
One of the women whose life has been impacted by Simpson-Taylor's work, is Rosetta Higgins, an Army veteran, having served in three wars. Higgins was injured in all of them.
"No matter where you turn, she is right there," says Higgins. "With a resource, or a source, or just a conversation to let you know you are okay.
Through their time together, Simpson-Taylor has taught Higgins an extremely valuable life lesson.
"I have been abused and misused," explains Higgins. "But now what, what am I going to do with it? I have to make the best of it. I am still a granny, I am still a mother, I am still a soldier, I am still living, soon I will be walking, I have grand kids, I have other women veterans that I have to go and impact their lives, and I want to do it like her."
Dr. Dorothy Simpson-Taylor, a well deserved recipient of the Jefferson Award because of her continued plight to serve and keep the legacy of female veteran's alive.
"I am nothing without you, and you need me to be complete, so we are in this together," says Simpson-Taylor "So when I think about this Jefferson Award, it represents to me that we are all in this together, it is no one person that gets this recognition because what I do is I bring people together and then collectively we decide what is going to happen next."
Simpson-Taylor and Sister Soldier Network is affiliated with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project . She collects stories on issues on race and gender with veterans. There is an exhibit at the Crispus Attucks Museum , where they have an ongoing exhibit.
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