Texas VA honors Women Veterans with portrait project


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Twenty-two Women Veterans from the Corpus Christi area participated in VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System’s (VCB) 2019 Women Veteran’s Portrait Project, which is designed to recognize the service of Women Veterans from the local community during Women’s History Month, a nation-wide observance that takes place in March.

“These types of projects are important to the VA’s because it not only provides us with the opportunity to say thank you, but to show it,” said VCB Acting Associate Director Charles Harpel.

“Women from all generations past and present have made tremendous sacrifices and contributions to our nation. This is even more evident when you take in to account the profound impact made by the countless number of women who served in our armed forces. Throughout our nation’s history Women Veterans represent an undeniable legacy of leadership, service, and sacrifice.”


Click on the sliding images  directly above to see an uncropped version of the portrait and details about the Women Veterans.

The VA conducted four photo sessions on February 21 and 22. After filling out a questionnaire and signing a release form the Women Veterans were asked to pose in front of the seal of their respective military branches, which were located inside the main lobby of the VA’s specialty clinic in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Some of the participants were photographed while holding images of themselves in their military uniform during their time of service. This helped create a stronger, more obvious, visual connection between the past and present.

Unlike last year’s traditional studio-style photos, this year’s portraits were presented as semi-black and white photo illustrations. Semi-black and white photos are created using a technique called selective colorization. This technique is used to draw attention to the subject within an image.

The service seals were given a subtle touch of color, while the Women Veterans themselves were presented with richer tones and shades of color.


Click on the sliding images  directly above to see an uncropped version of the portrait and details about the Women Veterans.

“This technique allows the focus to remain on the Women Veterans, who are the very special group of people this project was created to recognize and honor, “said Clarivel Garza an Army Veteran who served as a member of the committee of VA employees and community members who helped plan and this year’s project in Corpus Christi.

Although the published photographs had not been seen by the public, some of the Women Veterans who participated in the project expressed their appreciation.

“Unfortunately a lot of people don’t picture a woman when they first think of the word Veteran and that is understandable given the fact that the majority of military members have been men; however, women have served in some way or another in every conflict and war that our nation has been involved in, and despite the fact that for many years they were told they could not officially serve in the military or be officially called Veterans, they nevertheless served proudly and honorably,”  said Carmen Reed an Army Veteran who participated in the project.

“So, when the VA comes along and takes the time to do something like this project that recognizes women like me who have served, I can’t help but feel special. It feels nice to be appreciated and I’m honored to have share this wonderful experience with other Women Veterans from different generations.”

Reed’s portrait along with those featuring her 21 other fellow Women Veterans can be viewed online by visiting the VCB’s Facebook page using the link below.

VCB 2019 Women Veterans Portrait Project


Author’s note: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs believes it is important to celebrate the achievements of the suffrage movement and know that the larger fight for diversity and inclusion in an ongoing battle is even more vital. As current statistics show the struggle for inclusion and diversity, especially in the workforce, continues to this day. Therefore, each year, the month of March is celebrated as “Women’s History Month” in commemoration of “International Women’s Day,” which is celebrated in Europe on March 8th. During March, the various VA facilities throughout the agency and country pause to recognize women’s achievements and contributions to our planet and our communities by conducting different types of event and activities. These official VA events and activities support the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) which is one of several federally mandated programs. It began with the passing of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, which granted women the right to vote in the United States. To learn more about the FWP and other Special Emphasis Programs visit the VA’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) at the link provided below.



Luis Loza Gutierrez

Luis H. Loza Gutierrez joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in October of 2017 and serves as a public affairs specialist for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System more commonly referred to as VCB.

In addition to winning multiple awards as a writer, editor, photographer, illustrator and graphic artist during his more than 10 years in the U.S. Air Force as a public affairs specialist and photojournalist, L.G. (as he was called by his fellow Airmen) also served as a member for the Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard in North Dakota.

He volunteered to deploy out of cycle twice in a period of less than 18 months, the second of which included a six-month tour as a member of the public affairs team at United States Force-Iraq headquarters at Camp Victory in Baghdad.

The former non-commissioned officer returned home to the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas in November of 2015, and feels enthusiastic and honored to continue to serve his fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms as a member of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.


  1. regalos bebe    

    I feel totally identified with the post, I as a woman and more being pregnant and with a child baby I see that they do not treat us the same as girls and men and I have never understood very well why. Thank you very much for sharing, regards

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