Jessica Mathews /

Thousands of veterans and their families attended what’s dubbed Michigan’s largest free event for the veteran community.

The non-profit VETLIFE hosts Vet Fest to bring veterans together to enjoy camaraderie and connect them to the military benefits they earned through their service. Female veteran heroes were specially honored during this year’s event held in August at the Fowlerville Fairgrounds.

VETLIFE co-founder Joshua Parish says “Michigan is home to almost 600,000 veterans, but in 2019 less than 12% were connected to a federal benefit. VETLIFE is doing something no other organization has successfully been able to do and that is connect veterans to their benefits at an exceptionally large scale”.

VETLIFE co-founder Cortnie Parish noted there are over 43,000 female veterans in Michigan and many of them have never been recognized for their military service. She says they wanted to change that at this year’s Vet Fest so they worked with community partners to recognize female heroes. Vet Fest is completely free to veterans and their families. Parish says they want to encourage veterans to search out their benefits, which is why they bring vetted resource providers to the event to help connect them to those military benefits.

A press release is attached.