Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall hosted its annual 5 kilometer runAcA "walk to celebrate Women's Equality day, yesterday morning. Hundreds of Soldiers, Families and civilians participated.
''What a great way to start Women's Equality Day." Maj. Gen. Gina Farrisee, director of military personnel management Army, G1 Pentagon said. The runAcA "walk for women's equality was actually a competition between Soldiers, families and civilians of various ages. Master Sgt. Sabrina Washington, the noncommissioned officer in charge of JBM-HH Equal Opportunity Program, organized the event. As contestants arrived at Fort Myer's physical fitness center, they were greeted by organizers handing out place numbers runners were to wear on the front of their shirts.

From there, runners proceeded to the gym to listen to Farrisee give a few opening remarks to the day's event. In her remarks, Farrisee spoke of several stories of suffragists, both past and present. Her first anecdote was about a determined 13 year old girl, Chelsea Baker.

This little girl repeatedly asked Joe Niekro, one of the most successful pitchers in knuckleball and who also pitched in the major leagues in the late 60s, to train and refine her skills in knuckleball. Baker holds an unblemished record of perfect games in knuckleball (12-0). Farrisee used Chelsea's story to show, by example, that ''men and women both have value. They have something important to offer and should be given the opportunity to work hard and contribute to our world in any way they wish - whether that be as a baseball player, congresswoman, mother, Soldier or all of the above," Farrisee said.

The ceremony also included a short address from Col. Carl Coffman, JBM-HH commander. He expressed his thanks to all the participants for being present at the day's event. After Coffman's address, Family Morale Welfare and Recreations employee, Todd Hopkins, gave runners and walkers their designated route to begin.

After the runAcA "walk through Fort Myer, an awards ceremony commenced to congratulate participants that came in first, second and third in their designated routes. Overall winners for the competition for the men and women were Ray Matthews with a time of 19:45 and Kate Konkova with a time of 23:38. Participants were also offered a continental breakfast. Farrisee said it was a great day to see ''men and women competing together." ''It was a very special day to be a woman and to be a part of this inspiring event," said retired Master Sgt. Tonja Deans, who was also the first place winner in the walker's competition.

''I salute [former U.S.] Representative Bella Abzug and all women suffragists who fought to get Aug. 26 recognized as Women's Equality Day."