The DeMarco Project Speaks
Celebrating Women Military Service persons
By Kim J. Clark
Aka Expanding Love
March is recognized as National Women’s History Month. The DeMarco project invites our
readers to join us in celebrating and honoring women in all branches of the military; Airforce,
Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Army Reserves, and National Guard. We celebrate all
SHEROES, those in active duty and veterans.
We are proud to extend a special thank you to Sgt. Stephanie J. Shannon, veteran of the United
States Army. She is the Founder and CEO of Michigan Women Veteran Empowerment. Sgt.
Shannon is committed to helping female veterans heal from military related trauma. She is also
on a mission to raise awareness with the intent of eliminating homelessness for female veterans
and their children. Sgt. Shannon’s motto is, “Brave enough to serve, brave enough to heal.”
According to Stephanie, when she joined the military, she had no idea what she was getting into.
Her goal was to be an international fashion designer. She was trying to figure out how to pay for
her education without accumulating huge debt. She had seen commercials that enticed the viewer
to, “Be all you can be”. Excited about the possibilities, she met with a recruiter who was very
effective at painting word pictures of world travel, free education… Stephanie, a young, 5ft. 3in.,
120 lb., physically fit athlete, enjoyed challenges. As a competitive person, she loved being first
and setting records. SHE was going to make history!
What she got was the shock of her life… culture shock. She quickly realized she was in a male
dominated environment. Many of the men did not welcome the presence of women. One in three
women experience military sexual trauma (MST). Stephanie had to figure out how to fit in
without losing her identity. She quickly learned that before the ink dries on the paperwork you
become military property. Her understanding of how the world works was completely turned
upside down. Five months after basic training and job training as an 88M Transportation
Specialist, her unit was activated and deployed to a combat zone in Saudi Arabia. She found
herself in the Desert Storm War… Scud missiles… inappropriate behavior from those she had
promised to fight next to… Her big dreams… shot down. She learned to live minute to minute.
Eventually, she was transferred to the medical headquarters unit where she served as the
commander’s driver. Finally, the nightmare was over, so she thought. The MST experience
caused PTSD. She also developed Gulf War Illness due to exposure to the poisonous
environment in Saudi Arabia. She had been exposed to anthrax vaccine, sarin gas, depleted
uranium, toxic oil fires to name a few toxins used in chemical warfare.
In 2017, this writer had the opportunity to watch this phenomenal woman. While healing from
surgery, she participated in and sponsored events for traumatized female veterans. We invite you
to view her most recent interview on Comcast Newsmakers. The interview is entitledEmpowering Women Veterans. It posted on February 20, 2018. For more information visit Sgt.Shannon’s website, www.empowermiwomenvets.com.Sgt. Shannon, we thank you and salute you. Highest honor and respect.Kim is the mother of a veteran who loved his country and was willing to lay his life down for thefreedoms he believed in. She is the President of The DeMarco Project, Non-profit organization.Her life’s mission it to save veteran lives and improve the quality of life for traumatized militaryservice persons. If you would like to support her in the work, donations are welcome. Visit thewebsite; www.TheDeMarcoProject.org.