FORT HOOD, Texas - Diversity was celebrated Oct. 1 at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center during the annual Hispanic Heritage Month equal opportunity program.

The 1st Cavalry Division Salsa Band, musical guests Konexion Latina and the dancers of Las Estrellas De Panama entertained the lively crowd.

"This is the greatest audience," said guest speaker Ana Luisa Tapia, vice president, League of United Latin American Citizens Council 4535. "I have not seen combat boots tapping so much in one place. You might not have understood the words. You might not have understood the meaning of the songs, but nevertheless the rhythm was there, and that's one of the bridges that we share as human beings."

Tapia, a Mexican native, introduced the audience to Hispanic Americans who have made a difference in the field of medicine. Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, a molecular biologist, has devoted her life to the study of genes.

"She showed that bacteria could be persuaded to make insulin, so those of you who know anybody who is diabetic, this person had not only impact in the immediate community, but throughout the generations and throughout nations and the world," said Tapia.

Jesus Maria Sanchez-Perez, who was born in Spain in 1908, has a patent on taking X-Rays of the circulatory system, and Ysidro M. Martinez received a patent for below-the-knee prosthesis.

"He, himself, is an amputee," said Tapia. "As you all know, we are involved in Iraq and have casualties of war, but because of inventions by one of these Hispanic Americans, they [wounded warriors] are able to retract a little bit of that quality of life and continue on."

CRDAMC Commander Col. Steven Braverman added Dr. Antonia Novello to the list of famous Hispanic Americans in medicine. Novello, a Puerto Rican native, was the 14th Surgeon General of the United States and the first woman and first Hispanic to serve in that position.

"As we talk about some of these famous people," Braverman said, "what I was impressed with were the pictures that were being flashed on the wall through the video which showed many of our staff members who meet that criteria of being Latino and Hispanic and are proud of that heritage and proud enough to be pictured on the wall and say, 'Not only am I Hispanic, but I'm part of CRDAMC.'

"We are one team, and I want to thank everybody for being part of that team," he said.