Women Veterans Day: TriWest Women Veteran Employees Reflect on Their Service
Phoenix, AZ (June 9, 2022) – Women Veterans Day is June 12, a day designated to honor and celebrate the service and sacrifice of women U.S. Armed Forces Veterans. Also referred to as Women Veterans Recognition Day and Women Veterans Appreciation Day, the national service recognition day is the anniversary of the Women’s Armed Integration Act signed into law on June 12, 1948.
Prior to the Congressional act, only women nurses could serve in the regular and reserve U.S. Armed Forces during peacetime conditions. In addition, the Armed Services Integration Act allowed women to serve as permanent members of the military.
However, women have served the nation since its founding, including as nurses in the Revolutionary War, as soldiers disguised as men during the Civil War, and today in every branch in combat positions, on the front lines, and in leadership positions across the Armed Services. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), women are serving in the military in the highest numbers in our nation’s history and are the fastest-growing subgroup of Veterans.
On this important national recognition day, we spotlight two women Veterans who have served our nation and continue to serve Veterans through their work at TriWest Healthcare Alliance (TriWest).
TriWest Employee Fulfills Childhood Dream Joining U.S. Army National Guard
Irin Mancao, Customer Service Representative at TriWest’s Hawai’i Hub, always thought about joining the military, even as a young girl. Her father, a Vietnam War Veteran, enlisted in the U.S. Army after being drafted into military service during the war.
However, it wasn’t until Irin became a TriWest employee that she committed to joining the service. “Being an employee here and speaking with Veterans finally gave me the push I needed to go after that dream,” she explained.
A few months after joining TriWest, in 2017 Irin enlisted in the Hawai’i Army National Guard. She now has five years of military service reaching E-4 rank, and has been able to help her state when lava erupted on Hawai’i’s big island and when the COVID-19 pandemic reached O’ahu.
Born in O’ahu, Irin has lived there all her life where her parents taught her young to believe in herself and chase after her dreams. Her service in the National Guard has taught her to be more confident and to believe in herself even more.
Irin’s service has also taught her to appreciate her loved ones and enjoy every moment life has to offer, especially as her confidence and bravery were tested right away in National Guard Recruit Training.
“Before basic training, I had only been away from home when I was on vacation to Seattle in the 4th grade. It was hard for me to leave home - I missed my family, friends and the great food back home,” she said.
Irin’s work at TriWest has given her an important way to connect with Veterans. “Even though I cannot relate to all of the struggles of our customers, I have seen some of the many sacrifices,” she explained. “I appreciate our Veterans and like to give back to them any way I can. Having a job that enables me to do so means so much to me,” she added.
Irin knows that Women Veterans Day provides recognition to women Veterans and reminds us that women can do anything they put their hearts and minds into.
“Women are amazing human beings,” she said. We do everything from birthing children and raising families to serving our countries,” she emphasized.
Retired U.S. Navy Commander Succeeds in Military and at TriWest
Donna Hoffmeier, TriWest Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications and Advocacy and a U.S. Navy (Ret.) Commander, is originally from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Prior to joining TriWest she served as a professional staff member on the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and as a USN Public Affairs Officer.
Raised in a family of six, Donna notes the strong values her parents instilled in their children enabled her to succeed in her military service and beyond.
“My parents always emphasized being respectful of others, being truthful and doing my best,” she explained.
In college, Donna had the opportunity to intern under a retired U.S. Navy officer who frequently shared his service experiences with her. “I learned from him that the military teaches you how to be an effective leader while also serving the country,” she said.
With her internship insights on military service, Donna went on to serve in the Navy for 20 years, with nearly 11 years on Active Duty where she primarily served as a Public Affairs Officer stationed in locations such as Newport, R.I.; London, England; Rota, Spain, and more.
Additionally, she deployed on the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in the first Gulf War conflict. Following her Active Duty service, Donna served just over nine years in the Naval Reserve and retired at the rank of Commander.
“I had fantastic experiences and learned most of what has contributed to my post-Navy success while serving on Active Duty,” she explained. “I learned to respect people of all ranks, backgrounds and expertise. I also learned what it takes to be a good leader – listening, mentoring, backing your people and standing firm when needed,” she said.
Applying her Navy experience, Donna now leads TriWest’s Government Relations in Washington, D.C., and oversees strategic communications. “The culture at TriWest is one of total commitment to supporting the military and Veteran communities. That’s why I’m here; that’s what I truly care about,” she adds.
On Women Veterans Day, Donna reflects on her service and why this recognition day is important to her.
“I was very fortunate during my military service. I always felt I was treated equal to my male colleagues. The military offers women the opportunity to be all they can be and to serve the country with distinction,” she emphasized.
Recognizing women Veterans like Irin and Donna as well as the countless other women who have served and continue to serve our nation is what Women Veterans Day is all about. At TriWest, we salute them for their military service and their continued service to Veterans across our country.
As we say at TriWest, every day is Veterans Day, and this Women Veterans Day offers TriWest an opportunity to honor two women Veteran employees for their service, accomplishments and sacrifices for the nation.