Veteran patriot guard rider

TriWest Employees Reflect on Their Service for Women Veterans Day

On June 12, we celebrate Women Veterans Day. It’s a day to honor the contributions women Veterans have made to our country, to hear their stories and to celebrate their service, accomplishments and sacrifices throughout history.

“The military offers women the opportunity to be all they can be and to serve the country with distinction.” –Donna Hoffmeier, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications and Advocacy at TriWest.

Women Veterans Day is held on the anniversary of the day the Women Armed Services Integration Act was signed into law in 1948, which allowed women to serve as permanent members of the military. However, women have served our country since its beginning—as nurses in the Revolutionary War, as soldiers disguised as men during the Civil War and today, in every branch, in combat positions, on the front lines and in leadership positions across the Armed Services. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, women are serving in the military in the highest numbers in our history and are the fastest-growing subgroup of U.S. Veterans.

Today, we highlight two women, who have served our country and continue to serve Veterans through their work at TriWest Healthcare Alliance (TriWest).

TriWest Employee Fulfills Childhood Dream in Army National Guard

Irin Mancao taking oathIrin Mancao is a Customer Service Representative for TriWest. Irin always thought about joining the military, even as a young girl. Her father, a Vietnam War Veteran, was drafted into the military and enlisted in the Army. But it wasn’t until she became a TriWest employee that she joined. “Being an employee here and speaking with Veterans finally gave me the push I needed to go after that dream.”

A few months after becoming a TriWest employee, she enlisted with the Hawai’i Army National Guard in 2017. She now has five years of service as an E4 and has been able to help her state when lava erupted on Hawai’i’s big island and when the COVID-19 pandemic came to O’ahu.

Irin was born in O’ahu, Hawai’i and has lived there all her life. She was taught by her parents at a young age to believe in herself and chase after her dreams, but her time in the National Guard has taught her to be more confident and to believe in herself even more. She’s also learned to appreciate her loved ones and enjoy every moment life has to offer. Irin’s confidence and bravery were tested right away. “Before basic training, I had only been away from home when I was on vacation to Seattle in the 4th grade. It was hard for me to leave home; I missed my family, friends and the great food back home.”

Irin Mancao climbing ropeIrin’s work at TriWest has given her an important way to connect with Veterans. “Even though I cannot relate to all of the struggles of our customers, I have seen some of the many sacrifices. I appreciate our Veterans and like to give back to them any way I can. Having a job that enables me to do so means so much to me.”

Irin knows that Women Veterans Day provides recognition to women and reminds us that women can do anything they put their hearts and minds into. “Women are amazing human beings. We do everything from birthing children and raising families to serving our countries.” 

Retired Navy Commander Has Success in the Navy and Beyond

Donna Hoffmeier is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications and Advocacy at TriWest. Donna is originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and comes from a family of six. “My parents always emphasized being respectful of others, being truthful and doing my best.” The values her parents instilled enabled her to succeed in her military service and beyond.

Donna Hoffmeier with President GHWBushWhen Donna was in college, she had the opportunity to intern under a retired Navy officer. He frequently shared his experiences with her. “I learned from him that the military teaches you how to be an effective leader while also serving the country.” Donna went on to serve in the Navy for a total of 20 years. She served nearly 11 years on active duty, mostly as a Navy public affairs officer stationed in places such as Newport, Rhode Island; London, England; Rota, Spain, and more. In addition, she was deployed on the hospital ship USNS Mercy during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. After active duty, she spent just over nine years in the Naval Reserve and retired as a commander. “I had fantastic experiences and learned most of what has contributed to my post-Navy success while serving on active duty. I learned to respect people of all ranks, backgrounds and expertise. I also learned what it takes to be a good leader – listening, mentoring, backing your people and standing firm when needed.”

Using her background in the Navy, Donna now leads TriWest’s government relations work in Washington, DC and oversees strategic communications. “The culture at TriWest is one of total commitment to supporting the military and Veteran communities. That’s why I’m here; that’s what I truly care about.”

Donna Hoffmeier with President ClintonThis Women Veterans Day, Donna can reflect on her service and why this day is important to her. “I was very fortunate during my military service. I always felt I was treated equal to my male colleagues. The military offers women the opportunity to be all they can be and to serve the country with distinction.”

Recognizing women like Irin and Donna, as well as the countless other women who have served and continue to serve our country is what Women Veterans Day is all about. We salute them for their service in the military and their continued service to Veterans across our country.

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