By Don WagnerJanuary 17, 2017
FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service) -- While the Oath of Office, the Inaugural Parade and an array of dinners, balls and receptions have America's attention, a military task force will be working behind the scenes to sustain the flow of inaugural events.
Army Reserve Maj. Beatriz Florez is the supply and services chief for the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, which is supporting the 58th Presidential Inauguration. During the event, she will be on hand, overseeing food service, fleet management transportation, property management and supply and services.
Since August, when Florez left her home unit, the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), San Antonio, Texas, she has been busy developing plans, policies, and procedures to support the inauguration.
"My job is to ensure that all 5,000 members of the [task force] are supported logistically to accomplish their mission," she said, and that mission is the ceremonial aspect of the inauguration.
After many months of planning, Flores will supervise the collection and distribution of 13,000 meals, 26,000 bottles of water, and 5,000 comfort items such as hand and foot warmers for the military personnel taking part the inaugural activities.
She also will manage the 98 vehicles that will be used and coordinate with USO Metro, which will provide two mobile units for the screening areas, as well as 600 cots, 500 cones, 500 sandbags and various other supplies and equipment.
"She continues to impress as she spearheads the inaugural food service planning effort, filling the food service officer shortfall, ensuring a seamless transition," said Cdr. Lillian A. Abuan, deputy J/G4, U.S. Northern Command, JFHQ-NCR/MDW at Fort McNair.
"Maj. Florez is clearly setting a new standard for excellence within the J4."
PASSION FOR SERVICE
Despite her busy schedule, Florez has also found time to serve the veteran community in Washington, D.C., specifically the Women Veterans United Committee, an organization that ensures the needs of women veterans are met.
"I have a passion for service," Florez said. "I believe in serving others and being involved in the community."
Recently, Florez was invited to serve as one of the special guest speakers at the Housing and Urban Development Annual Veterans Ceremony, Abuan said. The organization is dedicated to providing shelter for homeless veterans and homeownership support to military veterans.
In October, Florez also provided opening remarks at the Fort Belvoir Hispanic Heritage Observance and was the special guest speaker at the Women Veterans United Committee luncheon in Bowie, Maryland.
ANSWERING THE CALL
Florez said she decided to join the military when she was just a junior in high school.
"I was in my first-period English class when I saw the news reports of the attacks on 9/11," she remembered. "It was in that moment that I resolved that I wanted to serve in the United States military. I had a calling to serve."
She contracted with the ROTC program in 2004 out of the University of Texas-Pan American and enlisted in the Simultaneous Membership Program, which made her a member of the Army Reserve. She commissioned in 2006 as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve as a quartermaster officer.
Her first job in the Army was as a platoon leader for the 961st Quartermaster Company in McAllen, Texas, a water purification and distribution unit. As a first lieutenant, she was a petroleum officer for the 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and deployed to Afghanistan as the theater petroleum officer.
She went on to complete the Quartermaster Basic Officer Leadership Course and Multilogistics Captain's Career Course, Petroleum and Water Officer Course in 2008 at Fort Lee, Virginia, where she was the honor graduate. She completed the Inspector General Course in 2014 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
"I believe the keys to good leadership are having the right combination of attributes, abilities and skills," Florez said. "A good leader … should have the ability to inspire others, build leaders, communicate effectively, make decisions, and manage resources."
Florez believes all the Army Values are important, but she considers Army value of honor to be essential. "By definition, honor is living up to all the Army values," she said.
Her most significant achievement during her service, she said, is the success of the Soldiers whom she has led and mentored. But Florez admitted the Army is not for everyone.
"It takes a special person to serve," Florez said. "It is my experience that the sacrifices you make as a member of the Army are worth it."
Florez wants someday to become a brigade commander for a sustainment brigade. Her short-term goals are to become a battalion executive officer, brigade S3, and battalion commander.
"My old battalion command sergeant major used to have a quote about the keys to being a successful leader," she said. "And I have adopted and modified that quote to say, 'Attack issues -- not people. Be value added, create solutions, and develop future leaders.'"
Joining the military, she said, was one of the smartest decisions she ever made.
"The values and ethos that I live by and the knowledge, skills, and abilities that I have developed because of the military are a large part of who I am and the success I have had," Florez said.
Florez was born Aug. 21, 1985 in McAllen, Texas, a small but developed city in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. She still considers McAllen her home. (She currently resides in Weslaco, Texas.) Florez is the youngest of five and the only one in her extended family serving in the military.
"I came from very humble beginnings and grew up in a single-parent household in a neighborhood that had gang activity," Florez said. "Despite the challenges, we all grew up to be successful, happy individuals and maintain very close relationships."
In her spare time, she plays the violin and enjoys working out, dancing Latin-style dances, and reading books. The person she admires the most is her mother, a Mexican immigrant who arrived in the United States at 11 years old with a third-grade education.
"She faced many challenges and obstacles, but was able to overcome them and raise five well-rounded children," Florez said.
"Her sacrifice, resilience, hard work, loyalty, integrity, and dedication are an inspiration to me. She has modeled what it takes to be a strong, independent woman."