HEDGESVILLE–The Well Armed Woman Back Creek Chapter celebrated its first anniversary Saturday afternoon at the Back Creek Valley Bow and Gun Club.
The group, which meets at the club the second Thursday of every month from 6-8 p.m., invited engineer, TWAW Atlanta Chapter member and author Liz Lazarus to be the event’s guest speaker.
“This is the nineteenth state I’ve been to on my tour, and I’ve talked to over 50 chapters,” Lazarus said, mentioning her second book, “Plea for Justice,” will be released in May, and, like her first book, “Free of Malice,” incorporates her experience of overcoming attempted rape into the storyline. That experience ultimately led her to learn how to shoot and join TWAW.
“We don’t force women to carry a firearm if they don’t want to,” said Range Safety Officer and Chapter Leader Karen Cichocki. Cichocki is a National Rifle Association certified instructor in Basic Pistol, Refuse To Be A Victim and Personal Protection in the Home. She is also a competitive shooter with the International Defense Pistol Association and has won multiple shooting titles in the Single Action Shooting Society.
“Take responsibility for your own self defense. Being aware of your surroundings, and knowing how to avoid getting into a bad situation in the first place is important,” Cichocki said.
She said members are trained to use pepper spray and self defense techniques, and are welcomed at any self defense efficiency level.
“Living in urban areas, you definitely experience different phases of safety,” said TWAW member of three years Terri Mehling, who has lived in Long Island, New York and Washington, D. C. “The Well Armed Woman has become a good force for women to learn ways to be safe.”
“There’s more to conceal carry than just having a certificate –you have to know how to use it,” Cichocki said about West Virginia’s conceal carry law, which mandates any carrier must have a license to conceal carry the firearm out of state.
“If you’re going to handle a firearm, you need to handle it properly,”said Summit Point Chapter Leader Mary Plourde, who came to the event with other members from her chapter and the Shenandoah Valley Chapter.
“The reason I decided to start shooting, was one of my good friends encouraged me. Since my husband travels a lot, I needed to have self-confidence,” Plourde said, explaining TWAW’s goal is to empower women and make them confident in a dangerous situation.
To join TWAW, visit https://twawshootingchapters.org