Photo by Luke Burke
By: Sheniqua Bush, EEO Office
Approximately 250 Soldiers and employees gathered at the Fort Detrick (Md.) Community Activities Center to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 13. This year’s theme was “Diversity United – Building America’s Future Today.”
The guest speakers this year consisted of two Soldiers from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Sgt. Robert Pagan eloquently recounted the story of how his grandfather came to the U.S. as a poor immigrant and once stole Christmas toys just so he could see the look of happiness in his children eyes. Spc. Alejandro Barajas described lively stories of how important and special his Mexican heritage is, not only to him but also to his family and ancestors.
The third speaker for the event was Silvia Munoz-Moreyra. Originally from Lima, Peru, Munoz-Moreyra is a Frederick Community Volunteer with the Frederick County Commission for Women. She offered thought-provoking insight on how proud and blessed she is to be a Hispanic American, and she reminded the audience of how others in different countries are not as fortunate to have the freedom that Americans enjoy.
Vanessa and Kate Perez of Oakdale High School, Ijamsville, Md., performed an inspiring native Cumbia dance presentation during the observance. The dance portion allowed the audience to practice their own dance routines as well. Instruction was given by Wanda Jimenez-Barkdoll and Munoz-Moreyra.
“Seeing Col. Darden let down his hair and show his dance moves was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen – I’m sure it will be on YouTube,” said Sgt. 1st Class Manual Venegas, Equal Opportunity Advisor for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
The program closed with the audience participating in a final round of trivia questions led by Sheniqua Bush of the Fort Detrick Equal Employment Opportunity Office. Closing remarks were offered by Col. Andrea Stahl, deputy commander of USAMRIID.