22 Female Heroes Honored by Pennsylvania Commission for Women

Governor Josh ShapiroCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Commission for Women honored Pennsylvania’s female veterans Wednesday in celebration of Women’s History Month. The Commission recognized 22 women from across the Commonwealth representing every branch of the armed services for their brave service and selfless contributions to Pennsylvania and the nation.

“Pennsylvania’s veterans deserve our greatest thanks and respect for their service,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Today, we celebrate the leadership and accomplishments of women across Pennsylvania who served our Commonwealth and our nation with distinction. I’m proud to celebrate Pennsylvania’s female veterans – and I vow that as Governor, I will always have our veterans’ backs.”

“This ceremony is a celebration of the women who choose to serve Pennsylvania in the armed forces,” said First Lady Lori Shapiro. “Especially during Women’s History Month, it’s a privilege to welcome these incredible women to Harrisburg and offer our gratitude in honor of their many accomplishments in service to Pennsylvania.”

“On behalf of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, we are honored to recognize outstanding female veterans during Women’s History Month,” said Commission Executive Director Moriah Hathaway. “Women who serve often go unnoticed and deserve our endless gratitude. We are excited to share the accomplishments of 22 women who have dedicated their time and talents to protect Pennsylvania and our nation.”

Women have played a significant role in American military history dating back to the Revolutionary War, serving in many roles including as nurses and spies. Their contributions have evolved to now serving in combat as aviators, commanders and even members of the special forces,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and acting head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “America would not be the country it is today, without the contributions of women in our military. We are proud to recognize these exceptional honorees as well as nearly 64,000 women veterans who live in Pennsylvania.”

The women who were honored this week include:

Alysa Ambrose from Allegheny County began her career in the United State Navy after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University. She was one of the first groups of women to be able to serve on combatants and retired with the rank of Captain after serving for 25 years.

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Krista Callear from York County enlisted in the United States Army in 1984. She is decorated to include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (4), Army Commendation Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal (5), and the Good Conduct Medal. She retired from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 2013.

Shanelle Chambers from Allegheny County joined the United States Air Force in October 2008. She currently works at the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Readjustment Counselor providing counseling services, outreach, referral, and follow-up care coordination to veterans.

Sarah Cook from York County served her country in the United States Marine Corps from 2004 to 2008. She was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, International Security Assistance Forces Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Sea Service Ribbon.

Nicole David from Allegheny County enlisted in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard as a Security Forces Specialist in 1996. Her final assignment was at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, where she served as the Director, Strategic Initiatives Group for National Guard Bureau Space Operations. She retired from the United States Air Force after 26 years of service.

Francia Done-Henry from Dauphin County served in the United States Army Reserves for over 13 years completing two combat tours, one in Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo and a second in Operations Enduring/Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait and Iraq. In civilian life, she was Deputy Chief of Police-Patrol Commander Lieutenant for 15 years.

Sarah Garcia from Bedford County enlisted as a Combat Medic and attained their training as a National Emergency Medical Technician in 1991. She was deployed to two combat tours in Iraq. She retired from active service with the rank of Sergeant First Class in 2014.

Jennifer Grubb from Chester County began her career in the United States Army in 2000. She was deployed in 2003 where she served in Afghanistan at the height of the post-9/11 military action. She was a combat lifesaver and worked security details in a place where saving lives was often impossible, and no one could afford to feel secure.

Diana Henry from Adams County joined the United States Marine Corps in 1984. She is a member of the American Legion and was recognized in Fall of 2015 as the Veteran of the Quarter for her Post.

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Mary Irvin from Montgomery County served in the United States Army as a Military Intelligence Analyst and Paratrooper. She was honorably discharged after five years of service and reached the rank of Specialist. She has eleven ribbons and awards that include two Army Achievement Medals and a National Defense Service Medal.

Joslin Kearse from York County entered the United States Army with Primary Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) 27J Hawk Field Mission Maintenance Pulse Acquisition Radar Repairer. She completed Advanced Individual Training and was stationed at Ft McClelland in Alabama then Vilsec, Germany in 1994. She currently serves as the Manager of Diversity for the York County JCC.

Dr. Karen Kennedy from York County spent four years of active duty in the United States Air Force as a child psychiatrist. She was awarded The Meritorious Service Medal for her performance. She currently provides care at the WellSpan York Child/Adolescent Day Hospital.

Kathleen LaBahn from Clinton County enlisted in the United State Air Force in 2001 and has proudly served her country over 21 years. Her tours of duty span the Pacific, European, and Asian theaters including combat operations in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is currently the 911th Airlift Wing’s Mission Support Group commander.

Rose McDermott from Allegheny County is a 2nd generation female veteran from Pennsylvania. During her time serving as a nurse with the 171st Pennsylvania Air National Guard, she was activated in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her military career spanned 24 years, beginning in 1980 with Air Force basic military training.

Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge from Washington County served in the United States Army Reserve from 1992-1998; she re-enlisted again and served from 2001-2006. She was awarded the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) for working outside her duty in Military Occupational Specialty.

Dr. Sally Mounts from Washington County started her military career as a Second Lieutenant Platoon officer and was responsible for the basic training of female officers. Throughout her 25-year-long military career, she was awarded five Meritorious Service Medals and was also awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal, and an Army Achievement Medal.

Pamela Robb form Centre County joined the United States Army in 1976 and served for six years. Her service medals include the Good Conduct Medal and the Army Occupational Medal. As a civilian, she received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal which instills her military values of honor, truth, and service.

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Jennifer Schlotter from Bucks County entered the United States Army Reserve as an Engineer Officer. She was an Army Reserve officer for over eight years, mobilizing and deploying for Operation Iraqi Freedom and achieved the rank of Captain. With 25 years of experience at Boeing, she has recently transitioned to the Boeing Space and Launch Division.

Roslyn Schroeder from Lehigh County joined the United States Marine Corps in 1977. She received the Certificate of Commendation for supporting Operation Desert Storm. She was named Marine of the Year in 1981 by the Bethlehem Detachment of the Marine Corps League.

Aryanna Wagner from Westmoreland County enlisted with the United States Army in 2001 and served with the XVIII Airborne Corp on the frontlines during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She currently serves as the executive director of the nonprofit organization, RISE Veterans.

Louise Walker from Allegheny County joined the United States Navy in 1986 and served for ten years as part of a firehouse crew and later as a Radioman. She won the Squad Leader award with the Veterans Leadership Program in 2020.

Peachie Wimbush-Polk from Allegheny County joined the United State Air Force in 1983 and served her country for eight years.As a civilian, she works with the No Hero Left Behind organization, which seeks to end homelessness and reduce suicides among veterans by providing housing and other resources.

The Pennsylvania Commission for Women is responsible for advising the Governor on policies and legislation that impact women; supporting economic and civic opportunities for women; encouraging mentoring programs for girls and young women; identifying programs and opportunities for the benefit and advancement of women; and serving as a resource center for Pennsylvania women and girls.

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, follow the Commission on Facebook here.

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