SCE Employee Named 2019 Veteran of the Year

Jawana McFadden will be honored by LA County’s Second District for military service, leadership and advocacy.

This Veterans Day, Jawana McFadden plans to spend it doing what she does every year — giving back.

“I spend the day volunteering,” she said. “In the past, I’ve distributed lunches, packed bags, helped out. It’s just recognizing those who’ve put themselves in harm’s way for something bigger than themselves — all the people, the freedoms and the liberties we sometimes take for granted.”

McFadden, an advisor for Veterans & Individuals with Disabilities for Southern California Edison, is an advocate dedicated to supporting and assisting military veterans, especially those facing challenges upon their return to civilian life. She, herself, enlisted in the Army at age 17, serving more than 15 years as a non-commissioned officer. Years later, she returned to continue her military service as a commissioned officer and currently spends, on average, one weekend a month serving in the Army National Guard. This year marks her 21st year of service.

As vice president of Valor, SCE’s employee resource group for military service veterans, McFadden spearheads programs and events that highlight and support contributions made by SCE active and non-active military employees, their families and supporters. She also assisted homeless vets through the Inner City Law Center in downtown Los Angeles’ skid row, where she served as a law clerk years ago and continues to help vets transition to get housing and employment.

This year marks Jawana McFadden’s 21st year of military service. After serving more than 15 years in the Army, she returned years later to continue her military service as a commissioned officer and currently serves in the Army National Guard
This year marks Jawana McFadden’s 21st year of military service. After serving more than 15 years in the Army, she returned years later to continue her military service as a commissioned officer and currently serves in the Army National Guard

So, it comes as no surprise — except to McFadden — that she has been named 2019 Veteran of the Year in the Second District by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“I am proud to recognize Ms. Jawana McFadden as the 2019 Veteran of the Year for Los Angeles County’s Second Supervisorial District,” said Ridley-Thomas. “Her impressive experience and achievements, most notably in her selfless service to country, her commitment to workforce diversity and inclusion and her volunteerism on behalf of veterans experiencing homelessness, are most worthy of celebration.”

Brig. Gen. Ruth Wong (ret.), LA County’s Military and Veterans Affairs director, said selection is based on exemplary service as a military service member or veteran, membership in veteran organizations and offices held, community organizations and offices held and demonstration of having gone above and beyond in their service to the veteran or military community.

“It’s so humbling,” said McFadden, who learned of the honor while on National Guard duty at Camp Roberts near Paso Robles. She will be recognized Tuesday at the LA County Board of Supervisors meeting in downtown LA.

I am proud to recognize Ms. Jawana McFadden as the 2019 Veteran of the Year for Los Angeles County’s Second Supervisorial District. Her impressive experience and achievements, most notably in her selfless service to country, her commitment to workforce diversity and inclusion and her volunteerism on behalf of veterans experiencing homelessness, are most worthy of celebration."

 Mark Ridley-Thomas, Board of Supervisors

“Every veteran’s story is different,” she said. “Depending on their branch of service and their job, they’ve seen or witnessed things they may or may not want to tell. You’ll also find many individuals who are reluctant to share their stories, especially those in need of services.

“They’d rather help individuals more in need and always put others above themselves. That’s one of the things we must continue to remind veterans, you’re important and your mental and physical health is important. We are the military’s greatest asset and we must take care of ourselves.”

While she hasn’t yet decided what she’ll do this Veterans Day, McFadden says there are plenty of needs to choose from.

“It’s recognizing the service and contribution of women and men who volunteered for a very uncommon kind of work,” she said. “That’s what Veterans Day is about.”