Speaking with those at the Comet Gym at Charles City Middle School during their yearly Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, Maria Deike says that the current makeup of veterans is changing.

Deike, who is the Executive Director of the Floyd Co. Veterans Affairs office, and an Army veteran herself (and was discharged as a Sergeant), notes those who served in World War II are passing away in greater numbers, with an estimated 40 WWII veterans still living in Floyd County (out of the total veteran population of 1,288 in the county), and urges people to find them and learn their stories.

Deike adds that those serving in the Armed Forces are becoming more diversified, including more women, even noting that some are serving in higher ranking positions. She credits Senator Joni Ernst, who served in the Iowa Army National Guard for 23 years, for possibly inspiring more women to enlist.

"Senator Ernst has been an excellent role model for our young female veterans that want to join, and I think they're hearing her name as becoming more prominent. They're looking up to her as a Senator of Iowa, and I think that might have a good portion of why things are changing as well."

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