COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The Defense Supply Center Columbus’ Equal Employment Opportunity Hispanic Employment Program joined in the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. This month was designated by Congress to celebrate the rich heritage and cultural diversity that Hispanic Americans have contributed to the United States of America.
This year’s theme was ‘Resilient and Ready.’
The Defense Logistics Agency’s Resiliency Program defines resilience as “how one deals effectively with pressure, ambiguous and emerging conditions, and multiple tasks; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity or uncertainty. Recovers quickly from setbacks. Anticipates changes and learns from mistakes.”
The EEO HEP committee shared during the 2018 planning meetings that as a minority group, Hispanic Americans have demonstrated resilience throughout history. They can adapt and be ready to overcome any obstacles in order to be successful in their lives. They’re persistence and work hard to reach their goals in a personal and professional level. Here at DLA, Hispanic Americans know their contributions make a difference by supporting the warfighter with the supplies they need to accomplish the mission.
As part of NHHM, the EEO HEP
recognized the contributions of its former member and manager, Maria Buch Castillo to the Hispanic community during a Sept. 22 offsite celebration at Mi Tradición restaurant, located in Gahanna, Ohio.
Castillo recently retired from DLA after 36 years of federal service. During this special event, she was honored for her excellent service as a public servant and wonderful leadership within the Hispanic program.
“Through Maria’s efforts, we have more Hispanic and Latino employees on the installation,” said EEO Director Charles Palmer. “She’s responsible for standing up the Sponsor Program that met associates at the airport when they first arrived from Puerto Rico and other places as well as many other Hispanic initiatives in conjunction with the EEO HEP committee and the EEO Office.”
As part of the NHHM celebration, the EEO HEP also hosted a formal program Sept. 25 in the Building 20 Auditorium. (CAC enabled)
The guest speaker was Henry Guzmán, former director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Guzmán is a distinguished leader in Ohio’s growing Hispanic community who continues to volunteer with the Red Cross after retireing as a dedicated public official. A native of Villalba, Puerto Rico, Guzmán was raised in Youngstown, Ohio. He’s an Army veteran and recipient of a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for valor for his service in Vietnam. Academically, he supplemented his military training with a degree in Criminal Justice from Youngstown State University and professional certificates from Antioch Law School and Harvard University.
“When we look at this year’s theme for the National Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s ‘Resilient and Ready.’ So how do we arrive at being resilient and ready? I’ll argue that it’s through our history that we achieved resilience and readiness, through the blending of our cultures and the blending of people bringing the very best from all over the world and making us collectively the very best,” DLA Land and Maritime and DSCC Commander Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer said as part of the program’s opening remarks.
Palmer shared with the audience interesting facts about David Glasgow Farragut, an American war hero of Hispanic descent.
Farragut became the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and admiral in the United States Navy. He’s remembered for his order at the Battle of Mobile Bay usually paraphrased as “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” in U.S. Navy tradition.
Palmer emphasized, “This a great example of the blending of cultures and the resiliency that we find today. We’re resilient and ready because of who we are, all of who we are.”
During Guzmán’s keynote presentation, he shared with the audience his journey as an American of Latino descent with deep and proud Puerto Rican roots, tying into this year’s theme.
“The theme, ‘Resilient and Ready,’ is an appropriate theme for the work you do, and perform in this installation. Without being resilient and ready, I probably wouldn’t be standing here now,” Guzmán said.
As part of his message to overcome challenges and failures, Guzmán quoted the motivational speaker Dr. Robert Anthony, “You can have anything you want, if you give up the belief that you can’t have it.”
Guzmán’s family taught him the importance of core values, faith, hard work and to never give up. “I owed my parents everything, not just for teaching those things, but for making them a way of life,” he said.
“In order to be successful in life, we have to read books. We have to read, read, read. And we need to read books of people who had it worse than us. Frederick Douglas, who taught himself how to read, and who become an ambassador of his people. Read stories of Helen Keller and how she overcame her disability and was able to master reading by signing and by braille. So read stories of people who had it worse, and then you will soon figure out, gee, I don’t have it so bad. If they were able to overcome, then we should be able to overcome. And that’s what resilience is, being able to approach challenges that you have and while you might not be able to overcome that challenge the first time, you keep at it,” Guzmán said.
Frank Nino Jr. from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service - Columbus served as the master of ceremony, while DLA Land and Maritime associates Angela McCoy and Alonzo Burris sang the national anthem and provided the invocation respectively.
For more information about the EEO Hispanic Employment Program, or any of these events please send an e-mail to the Office of EEO & Diversity Special Emphasis Programs at DLALandandMaritimeEEOSEP@dla.mil or call 614-692-2577.