By Lori Newman, Brooke Army Medical Center Public AffairsMarch 23, 2017
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Brooke Army Medical Center hosted the Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Women's History Month commemoration March 21 at the historic Fort Sam Houston Theater.
This year's theme, "Honoring trailblazing women who have paved the way for future generations" was highlighted throughout the event.
"Today is a celebration honoring women trailblazers who have made significant contributions throughout history," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson, BAMC commanding general and the host for the ceremony, emphasizing some of the prominent women leaders within the military and Military Medicine.
"There are countless female trailblazers throughout our military history," Johnson said. "But what about the unsung heroes? The service members stationed around the world, in harm's way; the nurses and doctors who work 16-hour shifts; police officers, firefighters and scientists. They work hard every day in their respective fields -- saving lives."
The general shared a story about 90-year-old Shirley Adcock, a volunteer greeter in the Burn Intensive Care Unit Waiting Room at BAMC. Adcock was just named BAMC's Volunteer of the Year for 2016. She has volunteered more than 3,700 hours over the past 11 years at Brooke Army Medical Center. She also knits dolls and animals for the Pediatric Oncology patients.
"Just think what our world would be like if we had more Shirley Adcock's in it. We all have the power to make a difference," Johnson said.
"We all have significant women in our lives -- mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, daughters who in their own way helped to shape who we are as individuals," the general said. "Today we should remember all the women in our lives that make a difference to each of us."
After the general spoke, several service members and civilians came up on stage to recount the stories of trailblazing women throughout history. The hit of the event was 6-year-old Ella Lambert who told the audience she was going to be the first female president of the United States.
"The purpose of Women's History Month is to increase consciousness and knowledge of women's history," said Command Sgt. Maj. Tabitha Gavia, Regional Health Command-Central command sergeant major and guest speaker for the event.
"This is so critically important for every time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns there is no place in history for her or her accomplishments; she may even believe she and her story are worthless and therefore irrelevant," she said.
"History helps us learn who we are, but when the history is incomplete and frankly unknown, our power and dreams are diminished."
Gavia highlighted women who she considered trailblazers throughout history including former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former first lady Abigail Adams and Dr. Mary Walker, the only women to receive the Medal of Honor, and many others.
"These women are determined, fierce, powerful, fearless," Gavia said. "These are our trailblazers."
"It is vital that we embrace our history to create a more expansive vision of what women can achieve … what women can and will contribute to our society," she said. "We are a better nation and military when we embrace the strengths and diversity of all our people. It is of critical importance that we recognize and embrace our history as well as honor those who have come before us."
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Garza, BAMC Warrior Transition Battalion command sergeant major, ended the ceremony by thanking Gavia for her remarks and those who helped put the event together including WTB Bravo Company, the equal opportunity team and the presenters who participated.
"Let's honor [the women in our lives] not just today, not just this month, but let's honor them every day and let them know that we appreciate what they do for us," Garza concluded.