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Oh, to be an amazing woman

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Capt.) Lauralee Ozzello
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing Chaplain's Office
March is a month to honor women who have shaped America's history and its future through public service and leadership. I like to extend that honor to women from all walks of life.

Recently, President Barack Obama proclaimed, "For too long, women were formally excluded from full participation in our society and our democracy. Because of the courage of so many bold women who dare to transcend preconceived expectations and prove they were capable of doing all that a man could do and more, advances were made, discoveries were revealed, barriers were broken, and progress triumphed."

As a woman and a military chaplain who overcame great odds - such as my humble beginnings in an impoverished and broken home, as well as being an African-American woman in a male dominated career field - I can truly say, "with God, all things are possible!" From the Holy Scriptures, Proverbs 27 it reads, "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips." In so doing, I would like to present two women whom I admire most.

I first met Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Lorraine Potter, the first woman to become the chief of the Air Force Chaplain Service, in 2003. I was graduating from the chaplain assistant basic course and I remember thinking, "Wow! The highest ranking chaplain in the Air Force is a female. How awesome is that?" Chaplain Potter truly inspired me to become a chaplain and gave me the hope and determination to reach for it like never before. In fact, if you were to read my journal from that time, it clearly states that my five-year goal was to become a chaplain.

The other woman I admire most was not a historic figure, nor was she a person of means - my mother. Though she was born at a time when a gallon of gas cost $.15 and the average new house was $3,770, she never owned a car or house. She never complained about anything; the roof over our heads, the lack of a good paying job, or the fact that she was born with lupus. Despite these challenges she approached life with positivity and inner-strength, always giving God the credit, and for this she will always be the most amazing woman I have ever known. 

None of us know what is in store for us when we are born. God does. Over the years, you may have met many extraordinary women. They are mothers, cooks, teachers, police officers, and astronauts but it doesn't take rocket science to know that women are up to any task. God never intended there to be obstacles or barriers in any society based on gender. Let us continue to strive for unity and inclusivity in every area of our lives in order to celebrate the rich and amazing contributions of women.

Have a happy and safe month!