SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez announced a new targeted initiative today to improve access to services and benefits for women veterans in New Mexico.
Martinez also announced that Melanie Suazo, a retired New Mexico Army National Guard non-commissioned officer, will lead the effort.
“New Mexicans have always stood ready to answer the call to serve our state and nation in the U.S. Armed Forces,” Martinez said. “Ms. Suazo is a decorated former soldier who knows firsthand the challenges facing our women veterans, and she is well prepared to lead the charge in connecting more of them with the services, benefits, and resources they’ve earned for themselves and their families through their service.”
Ms. Suazo will serve as women veterans program coordinator at the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services. In this position, she will lead the effort to improve the delivery of services to more New Mexico women veterans. These include services and benefits such as health care, job training, education, and others.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, women represent the fastest growing segment of the veteran population nationwide, with more than 2 million women veterans throughout the country. There are nearly 17,000 women veterans in New Mexico alone.
“I’m proud to have the opportunity to continue to serve our state and country by working to connect more women veterans with services and resources through the Governor’s initiative,” Ms. Suazo said. “Women veterans have a unique set of challenges in areas like health, education, career and professional matters, and others, and I’m looking forward to helping to make life better for my fellow women veterans in New Mexico.”
Ms. Suazo retired from the New Mexico Army National Guard in June of 2015 following a decorated 27-year career at the rank of sergeant major. She served as the senior non-commissioned officer for personnel. Throughout her career, Ms. Suazo served around the country and the world, including the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is a strategic studies graduate of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. Ms. Suazo’s military decorations include the Legion of Merit, New Mexico Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and others.
“We’re proud to welcome such a distinguished soldier and leader to our team,” said New Mexico Department of Veterans Services Cabinet Secretary Jack R. Fox. “All of our veterans deserve our continued thanks and support, and Ms. Suazo will be a great asset to our team in improving outreach and services to our women veterans.”