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Women's History Month: The Evolution of Inspiring Nurses

Mar 9, 2016

Annie G. Fox was the first woman in the military to receive a Purple Heart for her courageous and outstanding performance in the Army Nurse Corps. Though the award was canceled due to a change in requirements, most notably the fact that to be given the Purple Heart, you have to be injured, she was still given the Bronze Star, which is almost always given for an act of bravery. Fox played a big role in helping U.S. soldiers during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

During WWII, about 964,409 Purple Hearts were awarded. Today, there is an estimated number of 287 Purple Hearts that have been given to women in the armed forces.

Fallen Patriots scholar, Maria Carney, currently attends New Mexico State University.  In 2010, when Maria was in 8th grade her father, Stephen Carney, passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease only two years after he was diagnosed. As a teenager, Maria helped her mother care for her father, which spawned her dream of wanting to become a Nurse Practitioner.

Her father served in the United States Coast Guard for 21 years, and retired as a Senior Chief. Many of those years, he proudly served as a fire chief where he was exposed to and inhaled different chemicals, and his disease and eventual death was ruled in the line of duty.

“My father's diagnosis had been one of the most difficult things in life for me. My family and I had watched helplessly as one of the strongest and most caring individuals deteriorated in front of us,” explained Maria. “Not only was he a father but he was also one of my best friends. He taught me so much.”

She claims some of the best advice she had received from her father is to do what it takes to get an education and always remember to follow her dreams.

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