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 Military Service Runs in the Family of Woman Heading California’s Advocate for Black Veterans

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Carole Stanford is a veteran as is her father and many other relatives.  Even though she “grew up Navy” she and her relatives, like many Black veterans, were unaware of benefits they were entitled to receive after leaving the military.

National Association for Black Veterans  (NABVETS) is filling that void.

Stanford was born in a Navy hospital as were her seven siblings. Their father served 30 years in the Navy.

A Vallejo High School graduate and mother to three adult children — 32, 28, and 25 – Stanford currently lives in San Jose.  She has worked in the medical profession for 30 years, and is employed full-time. That experience helps her understand the system and the psychology of services for veterans.

Stanford joined the Navy after attending college and just six months after her first child was born.

Pre-military her career choice was to be a psychologist, but mainly she wanted her son to be proud of her.

There is lots of military in her background. In addition to her father, two of her brothers joined the Navy, all six of her uncles and one of her aunts served in all branches of the military.

At one point her father and three of his brothers served in Vietnam at the same time. Generations ago, a family member was drafted by the Union to fight in the Civil War, and one of her three sons has enlisted in the Navy.

It took her father 10 years to receive the benefits he was due from the Navy.  This is all too common for veterans of color.  They aren’t denied benefits, they simply are not given.

Stanford describes her father as a hero, her mother as a warrior.  She considers herself a combination of her parents and has taken up the mantle of ensuring that Black veterans receive their benefits.

She says:  “I do not want that to happen to any other veteran. I am committed to serving those who have served us. A veteran’s group that is underserved is women, particularly Black women. As a female veteran I am very aware how little information is given to us.  This is the way we are represented in every aspect of society. Just as women are often overlooked in the civilian workforce, the same happens in the Military. I am a person who believes that change can only happen when people make it happen. I have done it for years and I will continue to do so.”

Stanford is indeed a changemaker.

During the pandemic, she was appointed California State Commander, NABVETS, INC.

NABVETS was established in 1969 and the tag line is “creating positive lifestyles for veterans, their families and the community.”

The mission of NABVETS is “ . . . to honor the bravery and the strength of the people who were ready to save the mother land.”

NABVETS’ vision is “ . . . [to] ensure that these veterans receive the respect they deserve from the society and lead a peaceful life.”

The philosophy:  “ . . . to make sure that the community understands the value of working and helping these veterans gain peace.”

In addition to serving in her statewide post, Stanford volunteers with NABVETS through their Richmond chapter.

“The Cost of Courage Foundation,” based in San Jose, awarded her the Veteran of the Month Award for the month of November 2020.

“Growing Up Navy” is a book, available on Amazon (and in Kindle) that Stanford wrote in honor of her father who was the inspiration for her joining the Navy.

Thank you Carole, for your service and beyond and thank you NABVETS for assisting our Black veterans.

For more information about NABVETS, log onto NABVETS.com.

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