Weld County woman Kathy Ravithis receives honors for Army, Marines and National Guard service

AccentCare Hospice came together to host a special “We Honor Veterans” ceremony for Weld County resident Kathy Ravithis at the beginning of Women’s History Month.

Posted at 11:06 PM, Mar 29, 2024
and last updated 11:52 AM, Apr 01, 2024

WINDSOR, Colo. — The impression Kathy Ravithis has made on the people around her is immediately evident.

Her entire care team at lights up around her. And they get a genuine chuckle out of every sassy joke she makes.

Like when asked, “what brought you to Colorado?” Ravithis retorts, “I was born in Milliken. That’s in Colorado, so that’s how I got here.”

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Katie Parkins | Denver7

The 91-year-old’s eyes are bright, and she hones in on whomever she’s talking with intently.

That spark is especially visible as Ravithis recounts her initial plans to go to college to become a nurse. But after talking with military recruiters, she joined the Army.

“They never knew what I was gonna do or what I was going to get into,” Ravithis said.

But she followed in her father’s footsteps in the Army.

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AccentCare

Ravithis blazed a trail through the communications department, learning every station until she eventually became a manager.

In that role, Ravithis had no qualms about standing up for the women she oversaw. She said a lieutenant once gave one of Ravithis’ subordinates a hard time for spending too long in the bathroom.

Ravithis asked, “Well, why were you longer?” And the woman answered, “I had to change my Tampax.”

Ravithis was not afraid to assert her authority.

“I said, ‘the next time you chew out one of my operators, I’m taking you to the top the next time.’ I said, ‘you don’t bother my people. You don’t talk to my people.'”

She seems just as confident in herself decades later.

“You know, if you speak up, and you’re strong about what you say, you know, they listen,” Ravithis said.

After the Army, Ravithis then transitioned to the United States Marines — a time she is particularly fond of.

“I loved the Marine Corps, because they were rough, tough. And I enjoyed that very, very much,” Ravithis said.

She served in law enforcement for the Marines before becoming one of the first women to serve in the Colorado Army National Guard when she joined in 1972.

Ravithis couldn’t attend her first training camp because there were no women’s facilities.

She said she was only in the Colorado Army National Guard for a few weeks before transferring to the California National Guard.

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Beyond her military service, friend and caregiver Kim Rutten also added, Ravithis served with the American Red Cross during September 11.

“She has this big old picture with all the firefighters and stuff saying thank you for the help,” Rutten said.

Rutten and another one of Ravithis’ friends from church shared how much they admire her and all she’s done to pave the way for women veterans.

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But on a personal level, Rutten’s favorite thing about Ravithis?

“Her spirit. Her love. And just how much she cares about everybody. She’s kind of made her way here taking care of people, too. You know, there’s a little lady that was sitting by herself and she’s like, ‘No, you’re not doing that. I’m taking care of you.’ So she has that in her heart, too,” Rutten said.

While Ravithis was only married for seven years and doesn’t have any children of her own, Rutten has gladly welcomed her into her own family.

“My kids love her and the grandkids love her. And she’s a big part of all of our lives,” Rutten said.

She’s traveled across the country with Ravithis for years to attend Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association Conventions. And they’re not slowing down. The duo plans to attend this year’s assembly in Baltimore, Maryland in August, demonstrating the power women hold when they stick together.

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