DuPage County Historical Museum honors Women Trailblazers

The achievements of four Black women veterans were celebrated March 6 at the DuPage County Historical Museum in observance of Black History Month and Women's History Month.

DuPage County Board member Greg Hart and state Rep. Terra Costa Howard were in attendance for the program, titled, "Recognizing Trailblazers: Confident and Courageous Women Who Shaped DuPage."

The Wheaton museum partnered with the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital's Confident and Courageous Program to honor the following DuPage County veterans:

• Sonya Ebhotemen, U.S. Marine Corps., E-3 Lance Corporal

• Sonia Falk, U.S. Army, Military Police

• Mary Reed, U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel

• Lynetta Smith, U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 3rd Class

The event highlighted women's groups that have empowered women over several generations of DuPage County history, including the Naperville Woman's Club, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and the Fort Payne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The afternoon event began with a Pledge of Allegiance led by Boy Scout Life Scout Peter Dioro after guests were ushered into the museum auditorium by members of a local Girl Scout troop.

After a welcoming by Museum Manager and Educator Michelle Podkowa, the audience heard from Confident and Courageous' Sonya Ebhotemen about the origins of the Confident and Courageous program and its plan to launch nationally.

DuPage County Historical Museum Foundation member Melody Coleman, who was instrumental in planning the event, announced the honorees.

This event marked the first Recognizing Trailblazers event at the museum.

"These four wonderful women are just the beginning. We know there are many, many more women veterans and we hope having this initial event will connect us with more veterans of all ages during war and peace times across DuPage who wish to have their stories told and recorded for future generations," Podkowa told the crowd.

Also in attendance were local author and historian Glennette Tilley Turner, Naperville Woman's Club and the Fort Payne Chapter of the DAR who talked with guests during the reception part of the event. The reception was sponsored by Arrowhead Golf Club.

A video of the program is available at

For more information about upcoming programs and exhibits at the DuPage County Historical Museum, visit or follow www.facebook/dupagemuseum

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