Ascension Living Casa Scalabrini Veteran Part of HerStory: A Female Veteran’s Story

Northlake, Illinois - During the Vietnam War, more than 265,000 American women served in the military and 11,000 women served in Vietnam. Donna Glielmi, a resident at Ascension Living Casa Scalabrini Village, served in the U.S. Navy from 1973-1980 as a Data System Technician.

A recent high school graduate, Glielmi joined the Navy because she wanted a college education and knew that was her chance to achieve her dream. Stationed both in the U.S. and in the Philippines, she served the country by repairing display terminals for navigation, plotting courses, and deciphering data needed by Pacific squadrons.

“I joined the Navy to get a college degree and ended up with so much more,” reflected Glielmi. “I am so glad I made that decision. That choice has provided me with countless opportunities throughout my life, including veteran benefits. It also gave the chance to be part of the Honor Flight experience and Operation Education to help students understand the conflicts where American soldiers served and bolster their appreciation for military service.”

On October 6, 2021, Glielmi was celebrated for her service during a special Operation HerStory Honor Flight. More than 90 women flew from Midway International Airport in Chicago to Dulles International Airport, spending the day touring veteran memorials in Washington, D.C., reminiscing and enjoying a day of camaraderie. Operation HerStory aims to ensure that every eligible Illinois woman veteran who served during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and periods from 1940-1975, is invited on a trip to Washington, D.C. during her lifetime to tour the various war monuments and experience being honored for her service upon her return home.

“I felt like a hero that day,” recalled Glielmi. “I will cherish and talk about every moment of that day for years to come. I am honored to have served my country as a U.S. Navy sailor.”

Glielmi’s hero's welcome continued when she returned home to Ascension Living Casa Scalabrini Village, an independent living retirement community in Northlake, Illinois. Her sister, and roommate, worked with the retirement community’s dining team to prepare a special dinner celebration in her honor. Glielmi enjoyed a dinner with family, Ascension Living Casa Scalabrini Village residents presented her with a signed poster acknowledging her service and sharing a cake fit for a hero.

“We are thrilled that Ms. Glielmi was able to participate in HerStory,” said Eliana Mejia, Executive Director, Ascension Living Casa Scalabrini Village. “We were happy to be part of her special day and grateful to her and our other veteran residents. They inspire us to serve.”

Photo: Donna Glielmi visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during a special Operation HerStory Honor Flight.

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About Ascension Living Casa Scalabrini Village

Ascension Living Casa Scalabrini Village offers a range of care, services and support options for seniors including independent living, short-term rehabilitation, memory support as well as intermediate, respite, and skilled nursing care. For more information about Ascension Living Casa Scalabrini Village, call 708-562-4300 or visit www.ascensionliving.org/casascalabrini.

About Ascension Living

Ascension Living, based in St. Louis and part of Ascension, is a mission-driven senior care and living provider deeply connected to our Catholic faith that cares for the physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being of all individuals we serve. Our Mission calls us to provide spiritually centered, holistic care to seniors, particularly those most in need. We offer a wide range of programs tailored to meet the unique needs of older adults. Regardless of each individual’s stage in life, our goal is to provide seniors with opportunities designed to make their lives joyful, enriching and satisfying. With communities in 11 states and the District of Columbia, our ministries are continually developing and adopting new best practices in care that enhance the experiences of our residents, program participants and patients. Learn more at www.ascensionliving.org.