USAG HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Far East District (FED) hosted a Women’s History Month celebration, which included an impressive line-up of District women who spoke about their experiences breaking barriers at USAG Humphreys, Republic of Korea, Mar. 26.
The event began with an invocation given by Carol Spratley, Programs and Project Management Division (PPMD) project manager. Shortly thereafter, Eva Yo, PPMD administrative support assistant, performed acapella renditions of the U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) national anthems.
FED Commander, Col. Christopher W. Crary, made opening remarks pointing out the long way both the U.S. and ROK have come in terms of gender equality.
“It’s hard to believe that 100 years ago, thousands of women were marching in the streets, demanding one of our most fundamental rights, the right to vote,” said Crary. “Today, a century later, the military and organizations across both our countries are full of talented women who have overcome discrimination, shattered glass ceilings, and become outstanding role models.”
Jessie Lindor, District property book officer and retired Soldier, took the stage to perform a poem in honor of the trailblazers who set the foundation for women everywhere to go against the grain and in honor of the women of FED, who she mentioned line-by-line. Attendees applauded Lindor’s contribution with a standing ovation.
The first of three panel members to tell her story was Heathra King, deputy of operations for the Security, Plans, and Operations branch. King shared stories that tied in gender discrimination, sexual harassment and the human art of compassion. The pain she silently endured from her experiences reverberated throughout the room.
Attendees were reminded that when pain comes in small doses and is recurring, it “becomes more like a bleeding wound.” King ended with a simple request, “occasionally pause, reflect, and consider changing course in your thoughts.”
Kim Kyong A, the first local national to earn and receive recognition for Department of Defense Financial Management certification, was the second panel member. Kim shared the struggles leading to her recent achievement. In addition to the language barrier, getting the certification was something that no local national had done. She struggled but worked hard to earn the certification and credited her ability to push forward to the great support system within the District; namely, her supervisor who pushed to make it happen.
The final speaker was Eman Sundquist, PPMD project manager, who rounded out the panel with her experiences being a woman and of foreign descent. She emphasized being unapologetic about asking questions; it’s a cornerstone of who Sundquist is and why she delivers quality work.
The event had an additional speaker, known to peers as the ‘Matriarch of FED.’ Spratley, who gave the invocation, spoke about her 40 years in the Corps and the variety of experiences she managed. Spratley’s advice to all attendees was to take challenges and grow from them.
A common theme that stitched through every speaker’s commentary was that the Far East District has been the best place they’ve ever worked. Their experiences within FED have been a confirmation of the District’s priorities in diversity, equality, and putting people first.
Like in previous years, the District was recognized as a world-class organization this year, yet it is the Command’s priority to continue pushing itself to be better. As part of its efforts to become better, FED is soliciting more members of all backgrounds, Civilians and Korean Nationals, to join its new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion council to partake in building the roadmap for how the organization proactively addresses these issues.
Interested employees are welcome to join the council at its second meeting scheduled for Apr. 1 at 9:00 a.m. For more information on how you can get involved with the FED’s DE&I council and its activities, contact Steve Brown at 315-755-6096 or commercial 0503-355-6096.