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News | April 6, 2016

DSCC celebrates a “more perfect union” at annual luncheon

By Michael Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

Defense Supply Center Columbus’ annual Women's History Month Luncheon took place March 23 at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on DSCC.

This year’s theme was “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in the Public Service and Government.” The Honorable La Doris Harris, director, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, U.S. Dept. of Energy, was the program’s guest speaker. She spoke about the importance of instilling confidence and leadership values in young girls across the nation.

“It’s going to take all of us, including every student regardless of their background, to make a difference in this country. It’s going to take women and leaders who are in this room to make that difference.”

Harris, nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2012, spoke candidly about her upbringing and desire to be an engineer. She said her father spoke often about how anyone could do anything they wanted to, which she proved when she became the first African-American female to graduate from the University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering with a bachelor’s degree. 

Despite all of her successes, including her position as an executive at General Electric Company and becoming the first African-American female vice president at the world’s largest electrical engineering firm, Harris said her current position allows her to find her true purpose in life.

“It’s important—every day, every moment I spend—I spend it wisely and make an impact, make a difference for our kids, for our women and our communities,” Harris said. “When you find that purpose in your life—and all of you have that purpose and you will know when you are fulfilling that purpose— you will make a difference in the lives of others.”

The highlight of the luncheon was the revealing of the 2016 Military and Civilian Women of the Year. Altogether, 15 women from DSCC were nominated for their contributions both on and off the installation. 

“The women who work here have great vision—great vision that drives ambition every day,” Navy Rear Adm. John King, DLA Land and Maritime commander, said. “During my three decades in the military, and the last two years here at DLA Land and Maritime—I’ve seen firsthand the knowledge, leadership, courage, and dedication that women bring to the table in meeting our most difficult missions.”

The 2016 Military Woman of the Year was Army Capt. Miracle Lopez Garcia. Garcia works as a price pending team supervisor in the Land Supplier Operations Directorate. The 2016 Civilian Woman of the Year was Toye Thomas, an internal review evaluator with Land and Maritime.

Garcia thanked her supervisors and mentors for believing in her and “putting me in great opportunities to succeed.” Thomas said working at Land and Maritime allows her to reach her full potential.

“One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to believe in them,” Thomas said. “I have to thank the senior leadership for encouraging personal and professional development in all employees.”

Furthermore, the winners of an essay contest conducted by fifth graders at Broadleigh Elementary School in Whitehall were announced. The subject was “Who inspires you?” Not surprisingly, the top three essays all focused on mothers. Taking first place was Diane Rosales, who eloquently recited the essay in front of the packed luncheon hall. 

The Defense Federal Community Choir kicked things off by singing the National Anthem followed by Lisa Griffin’s stirring rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly.” Members of the Fort Hayes Jazz Band filled the room with music while the attendees mingled and enjoyed their lunch. 

In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women's History Week. In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month." Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the president to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month.  Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”