Governor Eric Greitens appoints five Springfield women to statewide boards
Rosie is excited to celebrate the appointment of several local women to statewide boards and commissions. Governor Eric Greitens recently announced several appointments as part of his commitment to furthering women in Missouri leadership.
Amy Layman was named to the Children’s Trust Fund Board, which works to prevent child abuse. Layman is currently a member of the Child Advocacy Center’s board of directors.
Jody Austin, a probation officer with the Springfield Municipal Court, was picked for the Missouri Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, which aims to help young people who run afoul of the law.
Mary Bozarth and Kristen Tuohy were each named to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board, which hears appeals from people the state Children’s Division has accused of mistreating children.
Bozarth, a Springfield attorney, works as in-house counsel for Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and as an adjunct professor of criminology at Missouri State University. She has worked as an assistant attorney general in the Missouri attorney general’s consumer protection division.
Tuohy works as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Christian County and has previously worked as a public defender and assistant prosecutor elsewhere in southwest Missouri, including in Greene County. Like Bozarth, she also has spent time working as an assistant attorney general.
Betsy Miller, who runs the 2B Organized space planning firm, was appointed to the Missouri Women’s Council, which aims to help women on economic and employment issues. Miller is the founder and president of the Springfield Police Foundation and has worked at numerous local nonprofits.
These appointments come as part of the Governor’s recent promise to appoint 25 women in a span of 25 days to honor the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Foundation.
“Whatever your situation might be, set your mind to whatever you want to do and put a good attitude in it, and I believe you can succeed. You are not going anywhere just sitting on your butt moping around.”
Bethany Hamilton was born on February 8, 1990, in Lihue, Hawaii. She is the youngest of three children, and the only girl. Bethany’s childhood consisted of the relaxing sound of the waves coming to shore and the feeling of the warm sun on her skin. With surfing being a priority in Hamilton’s life, she was home schooled from 6th grade, but decided to return back to school to gain a normal high school experience.
All possibilities of normalcy went out the window on October 31, 2003. At the age of 13, Hamilton went surfing in the early morning along Tunnels Beach, Kauai with her best friend, Alana Blanchard, Alana’s father, Holt, and Alana’s brother, Byron. At around 7:30 AM a 14 foot long tiger shark attacked Hamilton and severed her left arm just below the shoulder. At the time there were numerous turtles in the area, and the shark probably mistook Hamilton’s dangling left arm for the animal it was hunting.
After the attack the Blanchard’s helped Hamilton paddle back to shore, and Holt quickly fashioned a tourniquet out of a surfboard leash, and wrapped it around the stump off of Bethany’s left shoulder. The Blanchard’s put Hamilton into their car and rushed her to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, where a doctor was called in from a nearby hotel to perform lifesaving surgery on Hamilton. By the time they had arrived Hamilton had lost approximately 60% of her blood and had entered into hypovolemic shock. Her parents were already at the hospital when she arrived, but that was because Bethany’s father was scheduled to have surgery on his knee that morning. After the successful surgery, Hamilton spent about a week in recovery before she was released and returned to her home.
When the news of the attack broke a family of fishermen, led by Ralph Young, presented photos to investigators of a 14 foot long tiger shark they had caught and killed about a mile from the attack site. Upon investigation it was discovered that the dead shark had surfboard debris in its mouth, and when measurements were taken and compared to Hamilton’s broken board, they were found to be a match. In late 2004, the police officially confirmed that the shark the Young family had killed was the same shark that attacked Bethany Hamilton.
Despite the trauma that Hamilton suffered from the attack, she was determined to return to surfing as soon as possible. One month later, she did just that. Hamilton, with the help of her family, taught herself how to surf with just one arm. She had to kick more to make up for the loss of her left paddling arm, and required a slightly thicker than standard handle for her right arm, but now she surfs with the standard short competitive performance short boards. Less than a year after her attack, on January 10, 2004 Bethany Hamilton entered into her first of many major competitions. In that year and in 2005, Hamilton took first at the NSSA National Competition. Although 2005 is considered to be her bet year as a surfer, she has continued entering competitions, and just recently took third place in the 2016 Fiji Women’s Pro Competition.
Since the attack much of Bethany Hamilton’s life has become public, and many view her to be an inspirational figure. She has been asked several questions about her attack and has confirmed that she felt normal when she was bitten and did not feel much pain, but she also stated that on the way to the hospital she felt numb. So many people were curious about Bethany’s story that a movie was put into production, and on April 8, 2011, the movie Soul Surfer was released and made a total of $47.1 million at the box office. While promoting the movie Hamilton was asked in an interview if she had the chance to go back and change everything, and keep her arm, would she? Hamilton answered that she wouldn’t because she can embrace more people now with one arm then she ever could with two.
Bethany Hamilton could have easily admitted defeated that morning in October. She could have walked away from surfing and lived out her life trying to embrace whatever semblance of normalcy that she had left. Instead, Hamilton chose to rise to the challenge. She wanted to surf, and the loss of an arm was not a good enough excuse in her book. There are times in everyone’s life when we feel like a shark has come up out of the water and attacked us, ripping away a piece of us and severing it permanently from ourselves. Those moments can feel like the end, but they aren’t. If you stay calm and determined like Bethany, you can weather the storm and come out a survivor.
“Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7
*This Psalm was chosen by Suggs to be the epitaph for her book Shadow and Sunshine.
Eliza Suggs was born on December 11, 1876 in Bureau County Illinois to James and Malinda. She was the youngest of four daughters, and at the time of her birth she seemed to be perfectly healthy. Her parents had both been born into slavery, James in North Carolina and Malinda in Alabama, and had met on a plantation in Mississippi. When fighting broke out in the American Civil War, James enlisted and served in Company I, of the 55th United States Colored Troops. During his service he was wounded, but after his recovery he reenlisted and fought for the duration of the war.
After the end of the war James returned home and the family began to move around. They lived in three different states: Mississippi, Illinois, and Kansas, before finally settling down in Harlan County, Nebraska. While the family was moving James Suggs had a number of odd jobs, but once settled in 1873 he became a preacher for the Free Methodist Church.
Although when she was born Eliza Suggs appeared perfectly normal, it was soon discovered that she was anything but. At the age of four her mother reported that Eliza would incessantly cry. It took a entire day before Eliza’s mother realized that her daughter had a broken limb, and by the time that the bone had healed, Eliza had broken her arm. Even the slightest movement could cause the child injury, which caused her parents to believe that their daughter would not live much longer. When Eliza was about five years old her parents had her burial clothes made, convinced that they would have to use them in the coming years. It may seem cruel to some, but Eliza’s parents were almost praying for the death to come soon and relieve their daughter of her suffering. To the surprise of her parents, Eliza would not require the funeral dress her parents had ordered her at such a young age. In fact, Eliza would live far past expectations and survived into adulthood.
The childhood of Eliza Suggs was drastically different from those of her peers. For six years Eliza watched other children go to school and play with their friends from a window in her home. Unable to move, Eliza would sit in her baby carriage and watch the world, and the people of her town, carry on without her. A classroom for Eliza was eventually created but it was in the upstairs of her house, a place she could not reach without assistance and great difficulty. As long as Eliza was being pushed around in a baby carriage, the hope of going to a school house with other children was impossible. However, the impossible became possible one day when a family friend gifted Eliza with a special chair that allowed her family to push her around with greater ease. This chair made it possible for Eliza to attend a local school, as her mother or sisters were able to wheel her to and from school without much difficulty. The kindness of one person allowed for Eliza to dare to do what the world previously thought impossible, she became an educated woman.
While at the beginning of her life Eliza Suggs did not know what her affliction was, as medicine began to advance the doctors were able to diagnose her. At the time her particular disease was called Rickets, but we now know it as Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). Current research shows that there are over seven different types of OI, and that these types can show a number of different symptoms depending on the person. The most common occurrence in victims of OI is fragile bones that seemingly break without reason. The body almost seems to be betraying you because its purpose to remain strong and protect you, but instead it is crumbling. The mental and emotional turmoil that a betrayal like that can cause is astounding, and not something I imagine is easy to cope with.
Yet, Eliza Suggs managed her managed her diagnosis, and did not give in to grief or depression. Instead, she decided to take after her father and become involved in the temperance movement in the Methodist church. After her father died in 1889, Eliza and her sister Kate decided to leave Nebraska and strike out on their own. Together they would attend conferences, services, and camp meetings in an attempt to spread the word about Eliza’s story and her devotion to Christ. Suggs spoke of her suffering and how Christ had offered her a spiritual remedy. Although, she was physically ill she was comforted by the knowledge that once she left her body on earth she would be given a new body in heaven.
Eliza Suggs activism and passion was not solely reserved for the church, as she put pen to paper and wrote the novel Shadow and Sunshine, which was published in 1906. The book describes anecdotes from her mother about the cruel nature of slavery and the hardships individuals underwent during that time. One of the stories describes an older woman who married a younger man after emancipation. Both were struck with utter horror when the two found out that the man was actually the woman’s son, whom had been sold away at auction many years prior. The anecdotes emotionally trying, and go into detail about the atrocities that occurred during this ugly period of time. Eliza Suggs does not leave room for the imagination, because she wanted the readers to be informed of every detail her mother had shared. Leaving anything out would not spare people, it would only allow themselves to continue in their blind outlook on reality. In only 96 pages, Eliza Suggs was able to capture and preserve the dark under belly of American history.
Two year later, on January 29th, 1908, Eliza Suggs died in Orleans, Nebraska. She is currently buried in her family’s plot in the Orleans Cemetery. Eliza Suggs is not a woman that many people remember, but she should be. The Suggs family had expected for the Lord to take her before she turned 10 year old, yet she lived until the age of 32. People believed that she would remain by her household window in that old baby carriage until she died, but she got an education and became a published author and public figure. Eliza’s life was filled with the word no, but instead of listening to that word she held out hope that one day she would hear a yes. Her hopes needed only be answered once, it was that one yes that changed her reality. The gift of a chair somehow became a gift of life.
“We must be an inclusive nation that respects and supports all of its citizens, a nation that doesn’t give up on anyone who hasn’t given up on themselves”
Tammy Duckworth was born on March 12, 1968, in Bangkok, Thailand. Her mother, Lamai Somopornpairin, is Thai of Chinese decent; and her father, Franklin Duckworth, was a US Marine Veteran of the Second World War. After the war, Franklin went to work for the United Nations and other international companies that dealt with areas such as: refugees, housing, and development programs. Due to Mr. Duckworth’s work the family moved to Southeast Asia, which caused Duckworth to become fluent in three languages: Thai, Indonesian, and English. When Duckworth was 16 years old the family relocated and finally settled in Hawaii, although for a period of this time Duckworth’s father became unemployed and the family was reliant on public assistance programs.
In 1985, Tammy Duckworth graduated with honors a year early from McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is apparent that education is something of significance to Duckworth because in 1989, she graduated from the University of Hawaii with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, and later received a Master of Arts in international affairs from Washington University.
The Duckworth family had a rich history of military service, with Tammy’s father able to track his lineage to participants in the American Revolutionary War. With this family tradition in mind Duckworth joined the Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corp as a graduate student at George Washington University in 1990. Two years later she became a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve, where she chose to fly helicopters. Her reasoning for this decision was that flying a helicopter was one of the only combat jobs offered to women at that moment in time. As a member of the Army Reserve, she went to flight school and later transferred to the Army National Guard. There she entered the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996. While in Illinois, Duckworth was working towards a Ph.D. in political science at Northern Illinois University. Her research interests were specifically in the political economy and public health of Southeast Asia.
However, her research was interrupted in 2004, as she was deployed to Iraq. It was there that she lost her right leg near the hip and left leg below the knee from injuries sustained on November 12, 2004. Her UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, that she was co-piloting, was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents. This unfortunate accident would put Tammy Duckworth in the history books, as she was the first female double amputee that came from the Iraq War. It was stated that the explosion, “almost completely destroyed her right arm, breaking it in three pieces and tearing tissue from the back side.” The doctors that operated on Duckworth had to reset the bones and stitch the cuts to save her arm. Unfortunately, the doctors could not do the same for her legs.
On December 3rd of the same year Duckworth received the Purple Heart, a military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving in the US military. Within the same month Duckworth was also promoted to the rank of Major. Despite the injury that Duckworth sustained, she was determined to continue her work for the United States Military. It was not until October of 2014 did Duckworth retire as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Illinois Army National Guard.
The story of Tammy Duckworth does not end with her retirement from the United States Military, instead, this just served as the start of a new chapter. Just before leaving the reserves, Duckworth was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012. Once again Duckworth made history, this time as the first disabled woman to be elected to the House and as the first member of Congress to be born in Thailand. In 2014 she once again won reelected to her seat in Congress, with about 56% of the vote from her district. During her time in the House of Representatives Duckworth served on the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
With sometime in the House of Representatives under her belt, Duckworth had her sights set on the US Senate, an announced she would be challenging an incumbent Senator for his seat in 2016. It was during a televised debate on October 27, 2016, that a critical event occurred for the Duckworth campaign. When answering a question Duckworth began to talk about her ancestors’ past service in the United States military. Then Senator Kirk responded, “I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.” Kirk’s comment led to the Human Rights Campaign withdrawing its support from him and switching it to Duckworth. The Human Rights Campaign claimed that Kirk’s comments were “deeply offensive and racist”. On election night Duckworth won the seat with 54% of the vote. She now sits on four committees in the Senate: the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Tammy Duckworth is a woman that serves as an inspiration to the rest of the world. It would have been easy for her to retreat into solitude after the loss of her legs. Waking up every morning to be reminded that you are not whole is something that would take a toll on the average person, but not Tammy Duckworth. When a person encounters a disability within their life it often becomes their defining characteristic, and a stigma that they spend their entire life fighting off. Duckworth took that stigma and has turned it into her greatest strength. During her race for the House of Representatives Duckworth was quoted in saying, “The worst day for me in Washington on the floor of the House is never going to be as bad as me getting blown up. So bring it on.”
The harsh realities of life have met Tammy Duckworth in full force, but that has not stopped her. It serves as a lesson to the rest of the country: if it hasn’t stopped her, then why should it stop us?