My name is Carol Cisco, the Founder of the nonprofit, Designing for Veterans. We have just launched our newest mission in support of an extraordinary female veteran, Sandra Bethany, Lt Colonel – Retired – US Army – US Navy and Naval Active Reserves.
For those in the Lawrence community, you may recall the news about Bonura’s Purple House and the unwelcoming, anonymous and angry letters about the purple color of their home. Since then, there has been an outpouring of community love for the family.
When Designing for Veterans learned that the mother of Kimberlee Bonura was a 30-year veteran we paid a visit. We were surprised to find that Sandra not only served in three branches of the military but was a trailblazer for the integration of women into the masculine world of the United States military during the formative years from 1965-1995. It was not without physical and emotional pain that she attempted to break the glass ceiling. Even today, in her late 70s the scars and wounds run deep. Sandra spent decades fighting and advocating for women in a very hostile and abusive male-dominated environment.
Her daughter, Kimberlee, is writing a novel about her mother’s experience in hopes of bringing cultural awareness of what it is like for female service members. We think Kimberlee states the situation well. “Sometimes she feels that the decades of fighting and advocating had no purpose. Sometimes, without her uniform, without the structure that recognized and formalized her competence and her authority (even while undermining her worth and value), she feels unheard, unseen, and forgotten.” Yet Kimberlee does hear and see her mother and most of all remembers.
Designing for Veterans hears you, Sandra. We see you too. That’s why we are reaching out to the community to join our Mission: “Bringing Joy to Sandra” by providing her with a Sensory-Therapy garden at their home. There is no better healing therapy than Mother Nature.
Sandra loves flowers and all that Mother Nature has to provide. In particular, wildflowers make her heart sing. She wishes for a natural, native and low-water landscape style. It is her desire that the garden is open to all who pass by their home. Part of the landscape design will have a bench where students passing by for classes on their way to the University of Kansas can sit and relax for as long as they want. Perhaps a beautifully crafted bench by the local teens of the VanGo program. A swing in support of making the garden an interactive place. Also walking paths both for the health of Sandra and her two autistic grandchildren. D4V would like to see the driveway and trash enclosure refurbished to complete the picture. And Kimberlee would like a plaque that thanks all who contributed to the project with an acknowledgment to all women of the military past and present for their service and dedication to our country.
For those reading this, we want you as part of our team; volunteer services, financial and material donations, help with organizing & social media and especially a landscape designer and builder. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Join our team.
Please donate and help us "Bring Joy to Sandra". Let's make her heart sing!
Designing for Veterans Inc
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.