Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
After serving all over the world for the Army branch of the military, Geraldine Ronan is back in her native Franklin serving in a different capacity. Recently, Ronan was elected as the first female Commander for V.F.W. Post 7339 of Macon County, which was established in 1946.
Ronan, who graduated from Franklin High School in 1984, served for 24 years in the Army before returning to Franklin so that her son, Joshua, could graduate from her alma mater in 2010. She became involved in V.F.W. Post 7339 after returning to her hometown in 2008.
“I have loved [being involved with the V.F.W.] ever since,” said Ronan, “and I had watched the previous Commanders give unselfishly of their time to the Post to make a difference and I wanted to do that. Each year the Post seeks volunteers to run for office. I opted to run for Commander this year and was fortunate to be voted in by the members.”
Ronan’s extensive experience as a medic in the Army equipped her to serve currently as the administrative officer for the Franklin Community Based Outpatient Clinic (Veteran’s Administration Clinic). “It is a full time job and I love it,” she said. “My passion is helping people, and the VA affords me that opportunity. And when I tie that in with helping veterans, it just makes it that much better.”
During her career in the Army, Ronan served in a variety of roles, such as Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, Training Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), Operations NCO; Chief Wardmaster; NCO in Charge of the Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology Clinic; Interim Command Sergeant Major; and, First Sergeant of a Rear Detachment Command. She lived in Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Germany, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
It was while she was in Germany that she was presented the Kaiserslauthern Woman of the Year Award.
Regarding her historic appointment as the first female Commander in a male-dominated organization, she said, “That does not matter. My experience at the Post has always been positive. I have nothing but praise for the Post and would love to see more females come out and participate. The members are very respectful and encourage everyone, regardless of gender, to join and participate in all Post activities. I have no doubt that I can count on my male comrades to support and help me during this upcoming year. I have had numerous people offer their assistance to me already.”
As Commander, a position she assumed June 4, Ronan said she hopes to generate new membership as well as increase participation among established members.
“The Post does a lot for their fellow veterans as well as the community and I would like to see this grow, but we need people to come out and participate,” said Ronan. “I look forward to the upcoming year and even though I have a lot to learn, I look forward to trying to continue and expand the good work done by previous Commanders.”