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Honoring Women of Valor

While the month of November has been chosen to honor the men and women who serve, their sacrifice is appreciated every day. If you serve or have served, our deepest thanks. Cappy Surette is Manager, Executive Communications at Disney Parks Experiences and Products and co-chair of the Veteran Business Employee Resource Group known as “Disney SALUTE”, and he has shared a message with Disney Parks Blog:

November is National Veterans and Military Families Month: a time when we thank those who stood up for our nation and the families who believed in and were there for them throughout their service.

That thankfulness was a central theme on November 19, as members of Disney SALUTE veteran affinity group partnered with the Disney’s Women’s Inclusion Network team to host a special evening to honor and salute those who have served in the AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex located at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The featured speaker for the event was retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, a 33-year military veteran who served as 43rd U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command. She made history being the first woman, first nurse and non-physician to hold these posts. She is currently CEO of OptumServe, the federal health services business of Optum and UnitedHealth Group,  sponsored the event.

During her remarks to the Disney cast members and representatives from veteran-service organizations, Lt. Gen. Horoho spoke about the significance of service to nation and community. She reminisced about how her father, a military veteran, stood a little taller when people would see his veteran’s ballcap and thank him for his service. This got her thinking about women who had served, and the need for a distinctively feminine way of identifying a veteran.

Working with a notable Washington D.C. jewelry designer, General Horoho created the “Women of Valor Brooch,” a brooch in which the forget-me-not petal colors combine the colors of America’s military, and other subtle design elements highlight the wearer’s service.

During a special moment in the program, each woman veteran in attendance was identified by name and service branch. Then, at the program’s conclusion, those female Veterans in attendance were presented with a Women of Valor Brooch: and a lapel pin to all guests in attendance to be passed along to a female veteran or service member. It was a moving, and sometimes tear-filled conclusion to an evening full of comradery, storytelling and recognition of service to our nation and our communities. 

As a veteran, I’m so grateful to have been a part of such a heart-touching event that truly brought me to tears,” said Lauren Mulvey, security operations manager at Walt Disney World Resort and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran. “It was an honor to be part of the tribute to women who have served and are currently serving our great nation and receive this brooch. I will forever cherish this beautiful symbol of femininity and valor and will always wear it proudly!”

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About Paula K

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.