DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- She served proudly in the military for 20 years.
She has a box full of medals from her service overseas including in Baghdad and Kuwait.
The awards are proof that Staff Sgt. Melinda Hamilton not only did her job in the U.S. Army National Guard, but she did it well.
In March 2015, the former senior combat medic was forced to retire after an autoimmune disorder called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) hindered her ability to serve.
“It took away my civilian career, it took away my military career, it took away my reason for life it felt like,” Hamilton said.
She found an outlet through Operation North State, participating in fishing events for wounded warriors and disabled veterans.
Most of the participants were men and Hamilton felt like female veterans needed a place of their own -- especially to help them feel like ladies again.
“I didn't feel pretty or feminine, I just felt… blah. I felt like I lost my sense of me,” Hamilton said.
She shared her feelings with Terry Snyder, the founder of Operation North State.
Snyder says after conducting research, he couldn’t find programs catering specifically to the needs of female veterans -- shedding more light on the need.
Operation North State is launching its first national project, “Operation Lady Jane,” a support program specifically for female wounded warriors and disabled veterans.
The services will cover several areas.
"Beauty aids, it’s going to be wellness, they want to talk, they want to chat to each other, that's going to be important, and then there are outings,” Snyder said.
Hamilton is excited to share her story with other female veterans.
“It's a lifeline to other things. Get the females out to know they’re not alone, to know that there’s somebody out there that cares for them,” she said.
Operation North State estimates that in the United States there are more than 10,000 wounded warriors and disabled veterans who are women.
Operation Lady Jane will launch in North Carolina before it goes national.
An official website is expected to launch within two to three days.