SCARBOROUGH — Carol Reynolds flipped slowly through a stack of her old service photos, smiling as she recounted the years she spent serving the country as a specialist 4th class in the Army.

“I wanted to be in the service,” she said. “I wanted to do something that counted.”

What counted to Reynolds was serving in the Army for two years beginning in 1958, following in the footsteps of her father, a parachutist who brought his children up for flights over Brunswick.

Fifty-four years after she reported to basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., Reynolds said she was proud to finally have a certificate recognizing her military service to hang on the wall next to her discharge papers and dog tags.

Reynolds was among 41 female veterans who were honored Monday for their military service during a ceremony at the Maine Veterans’ Home. Each veteran was presented with a certificate and a commemorative silver coin that depicts the four decades of female veterans from Maine.

Rep. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, led the effort to raise $50,000 to create the silver coins and a bronze plaque that hangs in the Hall of Flags at the State House. Since last year, more than 1,000 of the state’s approximately 10,000 female veterans have been recognized in ceremonies across the state.

Valentino said the intent of the effort is two-fold.

“It’s about recognizing women and getting them the services they need,” she said, noting that there is no comprehensive list of women who are veterans. “So many of the women we’ve talked to in the past few years didn’t even know they were a veteran.”

Elizabeth Chittick, 79, a resident of the veterans’ home, served seven years in the Navy and 26 years in the Army. She said she enjoyed serving the country and was honored to be recognized along with others. “It’s really great women are beginning to get the recognition they deserve,” she said.

Clelie Welch, 65, a retired Air Force communication specialist from Casco, agreed that women deserve the recognition they may not have received during or shortly after their service. She enlisted in the Army in 1968 and served for 18 months, joining four brothers who served in the armed forces.

“It’s important to let people know that women are patriotic and want to serve,” she said. “It’s not just a man’s job anymore.”

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at: [email protected]

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