DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. -- Sarah Thomas, the first female full-time NFL game official, was the guest speaker for the 2018 annual observance of Women's History Month held March 20 at the Detroit Arsenal. The theme was "Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination."

"I do it because I love it," Thomas said regarding her motivation for being an NFL official. She attributes her success, and success in general, to hard work.

"Success comes before work only in the dictionary," she said.

Thomas was selected as the first female full-time NFL official in 2015. Prior to that, she was the first female official to serve in a major college football game, a bowl game, and at a Big Ten stadium. She began her football officiating career following graduation from the University of Mobile in 1995 where she played on the basketball team and earned a degree in communications.

"Don't be proud of me; be proud of the situation and what it means to women and other minorities," Thomas responds when people tell her they're proud of her.

Thomas lives in Brandon, Mississippi where she holds a day job as a pharmaceutical sales rep and is married with three children.

U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Commanding General Maj. Gen. Clark LeMasters presented a two-star note to Thomas at the conclusion of her speech and expressed his appreciation to her for coming and sharing her message with the Detroit Arsenal teammates.

The observance of Women's History Month, which runs through the month of March, was established by Public Law 100-9 and celebrates the struggles and achievements of women throughout the history of the United States.