Web Editor Associate | @alexpshun
Last Sunday night’s game between the Minnesota Lynx and the New York Liberty was important for many reason. The Lynx and Liberty, leaders of their respective conferences, were battling it out for the best record in the WNBA, as well as attempting to clinch the top seeds in their respective conferences; there was a lot on the line. However, during the second quarter of the game, and on military night nonetheless, the Lynx took a moment to recognize and honor someone who has done, and continues to do, a lot for the military.
Trista Matascastillo began her military career in 1992 when she enlisted in the United States Navy, where she served as an Avionic Technician and the first woman to serve in her command. She later was selected into a commissioning program and branch transferred into the United States Marine Corps. After four years with the Marine Corps she again transferred to the Minnesota Army National Guard as an active guard and reserve officer. She served as the first woman Air Defense officer and later commanded the 34th Military Police Company.
“I have had a long career [in the military] and I have served proudly,” said Matascastillo. “My focus now is to bring more attention to women veterans and really let people know that we are actually out there.”
“I like to joke that people think women veterans are like unicorns in that they’re so great but it’s so rare to actually see one.”
Matascastillo currently serves as Chair of the Women Veterans Initiative, advocating for equality in services and developing programming specific to the needs of Women Veterans.
With such an impressive resume and long list of accolades, the Minnesota Lynx named Matascastillo an Inspiring Women as part of the Minnesota Lynx Inspiring Women platform sponsored by Land O’ Lakes. Through the Inspiring Women platform the Lynx look to honor women throughout the state who inspire, motivate, and encourage other through personal and professional leadership, making Matascastillo an excellent choice.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized here tonight on military night and I couldn’t be more honored to have so many people here supporting me, and to have the Minnesota Lynx show such respect and recognition to the American military is truly great to see. The Lynx are such a great team and organization and I’m just happy to be out here tonight kind of representing the military for them.”
Honored in 2011 as the Minnesota Women Veteran of the Year, Matascastillo also participates as Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program consumer advocate for Military and Veteran Research, and Secretary of Gender Justice as well as a contributing author of the Attorneys Guide to defending Veterans in Criminal Court.
“I definitely stay busy,” Matascastillo joked, “I’m just glad that I can bring such recognition to not only women veterans but to all veterans. [The work] gets difficult at times but it is necessary and definitely very well worth it, especially when the work gets recognized like it has been tonight.”
As part of the Minnesota Lynx Inspiring Women platform sponsored by Land O’ Lakes, during the second quarter of last night Sunday night’s game, Minnesota Lynx Director of Business Operations Carley Knox presented Matascastillo with a team signed basketball at center-court.
Being a veteran herself, Matascastillo wants everyone to remember that, despite how the media may portray the military or what people may think, veterans are people too and recognition of their work can mean a lot to them.
“Veterans and people in the military are normal people just like you and I. They are our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers and our family members so just take a moment and talk to them and say thank you or just say hi because it really does mean a lot.”