Home 9 Awards & Honors 9 Mary Cortani Recognized as a Cal Vet Trailblazer

Mary Cortani Recognized as a Cal Vet Trailblazer

by | Nov 30, 2023

California is home to nearly 163,000 women veterans, making California the second largest population of women veterans in the country next to Texas. As a proud member and advocate for this community, our founder and executive director, Mary Cortani, was humbled to be one of only six statewide California Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2023 Trailblazer Award recipients.

“CalVet’s Trailblazer Awards were created to honor and recognize California women veterans and servicewomen who’ve made significant contributions to their communities and have reaffirmed their perseverance and dedication to duty through community engagement,” said Virginia Wimmer, Deputy Secretary for Women Veterans Affairs. “Trailblazers are women who have served their country or are currently serving and making an impact by enhancing the lives of other veterans, veteran families, or veteran caregivers.”

These remarkable individuals were honored at a reception on Monday, June 12 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. This is the 11th year since the award’s inception and the ceremony coincided with the 75th anniversary of the day President Harry S. Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law on June 12, 1948. This legislation enabled women for the first time to become permanent members of the U.S. military. Mary shared, “it was an honor to be seen as a female veteran, helping disabled veterans by providing service dogs to them to live the best lives possible.” Thank you to the California Department of Veterans Affairs for recognizing the careers of Mary Cortani and the other five recipients, Irma Hagans Cooper, Elena Kim, Rhonda Murphy, Connie Owens and Latia Suttle, all of whom are blazing a trail to champion support for their fellow veterans.