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A Pensacola-area residential treatment center for female veterans is one step closer to reality after the Blue Angels Foundation awarded Pathways for Change with a $40,000 grant Wednesday.

The Clinton Cox Women’s Treatment Center, located near Baptist Hospital, will house and support up to 12 female veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, providing counseling, addiction treatment, job training and other services. The $40,000 grant will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the generosity of the Dugas Family Foundation in Nashville, Tenn., officials said.

Founded by former members of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels Foundation exists to support wounded veterans.

From left: Bernie Willett, Blue Angels Foundation; Connie Bookman, Founder and CEO, Pathways for Change; Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward; and Mike Campbell, President, Blue Angels Foundation. (City of Pensacola/Special to The Pulse)

“The citizens of Pensacola have been so very supportive of the Blue Angels Foundation,” said Mike Campbell, who flew with the Blue Angels from 1987 to 1988 and is the foundation’s current president. “Today was a special day for the Foundation as we provided a grant to the Clinton Cox Women’s Center that will provide transitional housing, education, and future employment opportunities for female wounded veterans and get them back on purpose in their civilian lives.”

Campbell said female veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress would receive “critical protocols” to help alleviate their stress. Thousands of women who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, an acute, chronic, and sometimes delayed disorder that can severely affect a person’s ability to function beginning months to years after the trauma.

“These female wounded veterans are America’s heroes,” Campbell said. “They raised their right hand to serve all of us and protect our freedoms. The Blue Angels Foundation is honored and proud to partner and align with the Women’s Center to make a huge difference in these wounded veterans lives in the Pensacola community.”

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, military veterans account for 23 percent of the nation’s homeless population. In 2015, American Community Survey data reported that 21.7 million veterans are women, or about 9 percent. Of that 21.7 million, up to 12 percent are homeless. A higher percentage of female veterans have a service-connected disability, have no personal income, and are in poverty.

“Pensacola is known for having one of the largest military veteran populations in the United States,” said Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward. “These veterans must be supported and we should serve them as well as they have served us. I am excited that the Blue Angels Foundation has teamed up with Pathways for Change in support of the Clinton Cox Women’s Center. The commitment from Pathways for Change to our community and to their clients is unparalleled and we salute their continued efforts along with the Blue Angels Foundation to help our women veterans and their families through the Clinton Cox Center.”

For more information about the Blue Angels Foundation, visit blueangelsfoundation.org. For more information about Pathways for Change and the Clinton Cox Center, visit pathwaysforchange.org.

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