“Vanquishing The Invisible”
An Independent Portrait Project  by James R Morrison and J Mara Morrison
Vanquishing The Invisible will be displayed at the California State Fair during Military and
Veteran Appreciation Day, July 18th continuing on July 19th in the Fine Arts Building 7
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Thank you for your interest in “Vanquishing the Invisible”. From the beginning, you recognized the value and importance of bringing these portraits and stories to the public. We truly appreciate your support and we look forward to seeing you at a future event.
Karen Toomey
U.S. Army ~ U.S. Air Force (Retired)
Growing up in a small town in Northern California, I did not have many options after high school. My parents were on the brink of a separation my senior year, leaving me feeling like I needed to disappear. My father’s influence as an Army veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars made my choice to enlist fairly painless.
I devoted twenty-four years of my life to the military. My first five years were in the Army; the remainder of my time was in the Air Force. Most of my career was spent in a Special Duty Assignment as a Recruiter. I retired from the Air Force in October 2006.
In October 2007 I began working for the Department of Veteran Affairs as a Veteran Service Representative (VSR). In this position, I had the honor of advocating for our Very Seriously Injured Veterans from the most recent war on terror. Working with gravely wounded Veterans showed me how my experience gained from working for the VA could make a huge difference in the lives of our Veterans and their families.
After three years as a VSR, I became a member of the Rating Board, which I viewed as an opportunity to learn even more about how to better serve our Veterans. I spent five years as a Rating Specialist before making the transition to management as an Assistant Coach with the Veterans Benefits Administration.
I am the supervisor for the Development Team at the new Sacramento Satellite Office of the Oakland Regional Office. As the face of the VA, the staff of Public Contact works on the frontline, advocating for Veterans and their families. Personally, I see my entire life as a dress rehearsal for what I am doing today. I come to work every day with a smile on my face because I have the honor of serving those who have served—our Veterans.
We received the highest praise on the surveys and in personal comments affirming this project touches viewers in a deep and profound way. Their use of words like, “powerful”, “enlightening”, “passionate”, “thought-provoking”, and (we really liked this one) “take it national” reinforces our belief in this critically important exhibit.
However, “Vanquishing the Invisible” cannot continue - or grow - its outreach without your support. We would be honored if you would take a moment to help fund this project.
There’s so much more we can accomplish if we do it together. Your support will help others attend future exhibits and continue the outreach to new audiences.
Thanks to you, these stories and portraits are possible.

If you would like to honor Women Veterans and help educate future generations on the legacy of women in the military, please DONATE

“Women Veterans are often assumed to be spouses of a veteran. We are on a mission to change that assumption. Working together, we can not only change perceptions but bring to light the vast achievements and contributions our women veterans make every day. Impacting a woman veteran’s life not only positively changes her life, but also her family’s and the community in which she lives.”         Melissa Washington, Founder of Women Veterans Alliance
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