Central Point resident, Dianna Galley claims a unique
distinction. "She’s the last graduating WAC," said the V. A. volunteer who
introduced her. Galley confirmed the statement at the annual Women Veterans’
tea held in Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics’ (SORCC) theatre
on September 12. The US Army
discontinued using the term, "WAC," for members of the Women’s Army Corps after
1971. From then on, females and males wearing Army khakis were simply referred
to as "soldiers."
Scores of women veterans gathered for September 12’s
celebration commemorating their pride, patriotism and military service.
Shady Cove resident, Melinda Spolski, Womens Veteran
Coordinator for SORCC, moderated the program.
After color guard young marines Devlan McDowell and Willie Sloan presented the flags, Spolski introduced
Chaplain Jimmie Roberts who led the invocation.
Although the clergyman’s drawl gave away his Texan roots, he now calls
Eagle Point his home.
An active-duty soldier herself, Spolski spoke of
utilizing the ingenuity and self-sufficiency she’d learned on the job. "I woke
up this morning, expecting to start my day with a shower," she said with a
patient grin. Her uncooperative bath plumbing, however, declined to provided
running water. "In the military, we learn to use water from a canteen when
necessary. How valuable that training proved to be today."
Navy Hospital Corps veteran Lucilia B. Barger traveled in from the farthest distance. She rode by Amtrak from Westminster
(Orange County) California to attend the celebration. Having served from 1945
to 46, she said she’d been trying for years to contact other women veterans.
Finally, a friend told her of the White City event. If possible, she plans to
return again next year.
US Navy vet, Kelleigh Duncan entered and left the
military during a later era. Now a V.A. patient, Duncan says her
service-connected disability has prematurely retired her from the work force
she’d once so dearly loved. A college graduate who majored in Sociology, Duncan
praises the care she has always received at
any V.A. facility she’s visited. She now belongs to the American Sewing
guild of Medford. "I make baby quilts for charity," she said. "I’ll donate them
on Christmas when they have the trees with little kids’ names on them."
Staff Optometrist Mark Ostermeier and intern Catherine
Schuck were among the dozens of volunteers Spolski lauded and thanked for their hard work on the patriotic event.
She cordially extended an invitation for all to come back again and again.
By F. C. Blake
Of the Independent