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Wilmot named Outstanding Woman Vet.

Byline: Gail Stanton

GARDNER - Today, Gardner resident Michelle B. Wilmot will be honored as the "Outstanding Woman Veteran of the Year" by the state Women Veterans' Network, part of the Department of Veterans' Services.

The award is being given as part of a "Women Are Veterans Too" event at the Statehouse in Boston.

Ms. Wilmot served eight years in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a member of Team Lioness.

The group was made up of women assigned the task of searching women and children. In the mostly Muslim country, men were not allowed to perform the searches, Ms. Wilmot said.

It was an offer to become program director at Veteran Homestead in Fitchburg that brought the 28-year-old California native to New England after her discharge from military service. When the organization's new project, the Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center, starts moving in clients in December, Ms. Wilmot will oversee the program.

Her work with Team Lioness in Iraq brought her to the attention of Leslie Lightfoot, CEO of Veteran Homestead, who eventually hired her.

Since arriving in March, Ms. Wilmot has been working to help the training and rehab center move toward its December target date for opening on the grounds of Mount Wachusett Community College.

While her own time in the service has taken her all over the world, it is the needs of veterans returning from active duty that has garnered her attention and focus at this point in her life, she said. "One of my goals for the future is to see this facility used as a template to be used at other colleges around the country," she said.

"She was nominated and the committee made their recommendation based on military contributions and after-military-service contributions," said Cheryl L. Poppe, director of "This is the first time we have had a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom be chosen for this award," she said.

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Michelle B. Wilmot, who served eight years in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a member of Team Lioness, will be honored at the Statehouse today.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 5, 2009
Words:360
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