Women in history pave way for future successes

by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs

3/30/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Maxwell embraced the Women's History Month theme, "women's education, women's empowerment," during a luncheon March 23 at the Maxwell Club. Jackie Buck, CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Alabama, was the guest speaker.

The women who came before her paved the way for success through strength and courage, Buck said.

One of those women was her grandmother. "She was always special to me," Buck said.

She told the story of her grandmother, who kept mementos of her family's past.

One item Buck treasures is a journal from her great-grandfather, who was in the Michigan infantry during the Civil War. It featured his thoughts and songs of the period, including "The Bonnie Blue Flag," written by Harry Macarthy.

"We rally round that brave old flag that bears the Stripes and Stars," Buck read.

During the same war, Clarissa Barton, known as Clara, saw a need to help the wounded.

"She knew she was needed most on the battlefield ... where the suffering was greatest," Buck said.

Twenty years later, Barton founded the American Red Cross and encouraged volunteer service, leading by example.

"What a profound difference she made in my life 100 years later," Buck said.

Remembering how her grandmother made her feel important gave Buck the courage to pursue a career other than the typical careers for women at that time -- nursing, teaching or secretarial work.

"I wish my parents would have told me I had options, but I don't think they thought I did," she said.

She realized after getting married and having children that education was important. She went back to school, earning her degree the same year one of her daughters graduated from high school.

Buck started working for the Red Cross 28 years ago after looking for a job that did not require a college degree. She has been the CEO since 2004.

Also at the luncheon, emcee Dr. Pat Maggard read part of the presidential proclamation, signed by President Barack Obama earlier this month: "During Women's History Month, we recall that the pioneering legacy of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers is revealed not only in our museums and history books, but also in the fierce determination and limitless potential of our daughters and granddaughters."

The Prattville High School all female color guard posted the colors. Joyce Shack sang thenational anthem, and Chaplain (Capt.) David Del Prado gave the invocation.

In keeping with the Women's History Month theme, he quoted Proverbs, saying wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing that could be desired is worth more.

He said that knowledge empowers people to aim high, build their communities and help theirneighbors. The women present shape their communities and are valuable members of their households and neighborhoods.

"Each one exemplifies the important women who shape theUnited States of America," Del Prado said.