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Sisterhood of support: Local veterans help each other cope around Memorial Day

Local veterans are using Facebook to lift each other up this Memorial Day
Posted at 5:07 AM, May 31, 2021

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — As we remember the lives of those who served, one local group of veterans is lifting each other up to make it through an especially difficult day.

“People are struggling...the fear of why me, the fear of survivor's guilt is huge," said Lynn Magistrale, Navy and Air Force Veteran.

As the program director at WNY Heroes Inc., people started reaching out to Magistrale, asking her to start a women’s group.

Magistrale served in the Navy and Air Force
Magistrale served in the Navy and Air Force

"And I thought, oh gosh no this is going to be a lot of work, this is going to be a huge challenge, but like joining the military, challenge accepted and we did it and our first gathering we had eight women that came together," said Magistrale.

Now, they have over 250 women locally.

"A few years ago you know I was desperately looking for the camaraderie I so missed from the marine corps, here I am a few years later making some of the most wonderful friends I’ve made in my entire life," said Matejka Baumgardener, Marine Corps Veteran.

During the pandemic—a lot of this support had to go virtual. So they used a Facebook group page to stay connected.

200+ female veterans in WNY lean on each other in a Facebook group
200+ female veterans in WNY lean on each other in a Facebook group

"It’s a lot of goofy chatter, there’s a lot of hey I need some help," said Magistrale.

Something a lot of veterans need right now.

"With memorial day times, there’s certain things we’ll converse about to be there for each other during this time frame," said Baumgardener.

For any others out there going through this experience—this group wants to be there for you any day of the year. Click here for a link to the group, only female veterans from WNY can join.

"A lot of these women didn’t know each other and after meeting each other through the group, they now have lifelong sisters to continue this friendship with," said Magistrale.