Juanita Perez Williams Lieutenant Commander U.S. Navy
" Juanita Perez Williams is a Mexican-American, whose grandparents migrated from Guanajuato, Mexico. Her parents played an important role in her life, always struggling to make ends meet however devoted to activism in the farmworkers movement. As a child, Juanita participated in one of the first Early Head-Start programs, was a recipient of free student lunches, attended college through the Equal Opportunity Program and in 1986 received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego. After receiving her law degree, Juanita served five-years in the Navy Judge Advocates Program (JAGC) where she handled high profile criminal cases, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Upon completion of her military service, Juanita relocated with her family to Upstate New York. In 2001 she accepted a legal position with Syracuse University and soon thereafter was promoted to Associate Dean of Students. Juanita also served as an adjunct professor teaching legal issues in higher education. During this time, Juanita was selected by then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to be a member of the New York State Military Selection Review Board. In 2008, Juanita was appointed by then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to serve New York State as an Assistant Attorney General. In 2010, Juanita was appointed by the Mayor of Syracuse to serve as Corporation Counsel and lead the city’s legal office. Prior to announcing her candidacy, Juanita served as the Regional Director for the New York State Department of Labor. Juanita is the mother of 4 grown children and a grandmother. She sits on several Central New York Boards including Onondaga County Catholic Charities, La Liga (Spanish Action League), Clear Path for Veterans, CNY Workforce Investment Board, Bishop Ludden High School Trustee, is co-founder of UMEA, the new minority chamber of commerce, and is a proud member of the Valley American Legion.
CURRENTLY READING: Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun FAVORITE TEAM: San Diego Padres FAVORITE QUOTE: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margarent Mead MESSAGE TO YOUTH: Have courage to act with dignity. The harder the challenge the more rewarding the result.
Glenda Martinez Tyson Captain, U.S. Air Force National Guard
Captain Tyson is a first generation American; both parents are immigrants from Honduras. She learned how to speak English in school and became her mother’s spokesperson while she learned English throughout the years. Captain Tyson joined the military after dropping out of high school and obtaining her G.E.D at the residential para military program for at risk youth. The female instructors encouraged her to pursue higher education or join the military and she did both. Captain Tyson didn’t want to go back to the Bronx and become a statistic, pregnant and single. In 1995 Capt Tyson joined the 722nd ASTS in Roslyn, NY as a medic and became a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician. In 1996 Capt Tyson joined the 105th Medical Group as Senior Airman. She also returned to the New York National Guard Program as a boot camp instructor and mentor where she worked until the program closed their doors in 2002. After graduating the program Captain Tyson continued to mentor graduates of the Challenge Program into military and civilian careers. Capt Tyson personally mentored more than 55 of these graduates which have included men and women which have joined the 105th Airlift Wing. In 2003 Capt Tyson received an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse. In 2006 she was commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant and became the Health Promotion Manager for the Wing teaching Wellness for those who did not meet the standards for their Physical Training test. In this program she incorporated Health Living tips and collaborated with base wide Fit Improvement Program managers to aide unit members in meeting the standards guided by AFI 36-2905. In 2007 she became the Officer In Charge of the Immunization Program playing a vital role in the Medical Group met its requirement for their Health Service Inspection. In 2007 Capt Tyson joined the Veteran's Administration and played a role in aiding the Telephone Triage team pass their National Certification Utilization Review inspection. In 2010 Capt Tyson received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing with Cum Laude honors. Capt Tyson recently became the co-chairperson in the Veterans Affairs VETERANS HEALTH EDUCATION AND INFORMATION PROGRAM which ensures the interdisciplinary coordination of patient and family education in the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System to include the Veteran/Patient/Family/Caregiver in health education. Captain Tyson retired from the military after 26 years of service and has continued to work with the Veterans Administration in caring for veterans enrolled in the Hudson Valley VA system. By mentoring others, she provides hope that we as brown and Black women can succeed in whatever goal we pursue and encourage others to reach their maximum potential. It doesn’t matter where we start, it’s the journey that impacts others. Captain Tyson just started a non- for- profit for underprivileged and underexposed girls 9 -12 yr old name Operation Seeing More in Life Everywhere, Inc. with the goal to expose young girls to experiences outside of their communities . Captain Tyson was pushed and mentored to go to school and join the military. She was able to impact not only herself but her family and community. Captain Tyson has two children, a 12 yr old son and 11 yr old daughter and spends much of her time being a sports mom, traveling to gymnastics meets and football games. She is also working on recruiting girls by networking and outreach.
CURRENTLY READING: The Alchemist FAVORITE TEAM: New York Knicks (no matter how bad they are) FAVORITE QUOTE: Decide that you want it more than you’re afraid of it. MESSAGE TO YOUTH: Don’t let money be your motivation, find something that you’re passionate about and feed and nurture it. Don’t let people deter you from your dreams just because they’re araid to pursue theirs.
William "Willy" Nazario Lance Corporal U.S. Marine Corps
I was born in Ponce Puerto Rico on August 23rd 1947. My family moved to Bridgeport Connecticut, when I was 4 years old. My adoptive parents and I eventually moved to the lower Eastside of New York City, where I attended Aviation High School, Seward Park High School and N.Y.C. Community College. My major was in marketing at N.Y.C.C. I was drafted into the Marine Corps in February 1969. Upon graduation from the Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, I was sent to Camp Lejeune for 0311 (rifleman) training. I arrived in DaNang South Vietnam in August, 1969. I was assigned to Fox Co 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division, as a rifleman. After a month in Vietnam, I volunteered to be the point man which I did for 3 to 4 months until I was promoted to the position of squad leader. I was wounded in Happy Valley, Vietnam on March 12, 1970. During my Military service, I was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with device, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Medal with four Bronze Stars, the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm and frame, the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal and the New York State Conspicuous Service Star. Upon discharge from the Marines and returning to New York City, I worked at various jobs, until I finally settled in at the U.S. Postal Service. At the USPS, I was elected as an American Postal Workers NY Metro Local Union shop steward/delegate. I retired from the USPS in 1997. In my spare time I coached inner city Pony League baseball in the South Bronx. Long before I joined the Military Order of the Purple Heart, I was actively involved in advocating for Veterans on my own without any affiliations to any Veterans service organization. It was only when I joined the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) that my Veteran’s causes had a rudder and national support. In 2013 I attended the dedication of the first Purple Heart Memorial on the Island of Puerto Rico along with a group of Purple Heart recipients from New York. I moved from the Bronx to Westchester County in 2000. In the ensuing years, I was and am involved in some of the following positions, the Cortlandt Hudson Valley Veterans Committee Chairman, co-chairman 19th Congressional District Veterans Advisory Council, member of the 18th C.D. Veterans Advisory Council, co-chairman of the Westchester County Veterans Advisory Board, the Putnam County Join Veterans Council and a member of the Hudson Valley Veterans Affairs Healthcare System Veterans Advisory Committee. In August of 2015, I was elected the National Sr. vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) which covers the U.S.A., Puerto Rico & Guam. It was and is till today the highest national position attained by a Hispanic member of the MOPH. During my tenure as the National Sr. Vice Cmdr. of the MOPH I was invited by U.S. Senator Gillibrand to attend and speak to a gathering/press conference of Senators and members of Congress to address the economic distress of Puerto Rico. This was not my first trip to Washington to advocate for Veterans rights and bills. I have also served as a V.A. Hospital Volunteer with over 3,000 hours of volunteer service and as a VA Volunteer Services Representative at their quarterly meetings. I was elected chairman of the Cortlandt/Hudson Valley Veterans Committee which is the position I currently hold. In that capacity, I have organized rallies in front of V.A. facilities protesting many issues long before the current VA dilemma became public knowledge. One of the greatest battles I fought was against the Hudson Valley V.A Healthcare System proposed leasing of 160 acres to private and commercial developers and thereby reducing services to Veterans. With the support of many Veterans, Veterans Service Organizations and elected officials we prevailed against the Enhanced Use Leasing (EUL) of the property. Today that Montrose V.A. facility is in a better state with added services for Global War on Terrorism Veterans (GWOTS) and Women Veterans as well. Since 1999, my wife and I along with MOPH Chapter 21 have started food, coat and drives for indigent Veterans at our local V.A. hospitals. I am also a member of the American Legion and a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). In November of 2009, I was honored by the United Auto Workers Region 9A as their Veteran of the Year. On January 14, 2009, Westchester County was proclaimed as Willy Nazario Day. In 2011, I was chosen as the Male Volunteer of the Year for the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System. I have been awarded the 2012-2013 MOPH National Patriot of the Year for my volunteerism and for lending a voice to those who have served. In May 2013, I was inducted to the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. I continue to fight for those who need a voice in our Veterans community; those who have defended our nation. Many Hispanics join the military to take advantage of the educational benefits that come with enlistment. The issues affecting our returning Veterans who are attempting to join America's work force are many. They may include PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), TBI ( traumatic brain injury), MST (military sexual trauma), homelessness, unemployment and of course other combat related injuries. I am on the frontlines along with several other organizations and Latinos in getting our elected officials to address these issues and many more. I have humbly served the Veterans communities in many capacities with compassion for those who have served and are serving our Nations. I, therefore, encourage mentoring to all and especially to rights advocates for we are all volunteers on the same team never forgetting that service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on Earth. In closing I say, “May God Bless America and her past & present defenders of Freedom”. I will share these words of wisdom that I value and hold true: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”- Harry S. Truman. CURRENTLY READING: FAVORITE TEAM: FAVORITE QUOTE: MESSAGE TO YOUTH:
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