Equal Employment Officer Earns National Recognition
The Wyoming Military Department's equal-employment manager recently received an Excellence in Military Service Award from the League of United Latin American Citizens The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the oldest organization of Hispanic Americans in the United States. With a membership of approximately 115,000, the organization uses education and advocacy to improve living conditions and seek advances for all Hispanic nationality (LULAC LULAC League of United Latin American Citizens ).
Lt. Col. Kimberly DeRouen was honored for her efforts in breaking down barriers and overcoming major hurdles, including her own learning disability.
The award recognizes members who have made significant contributions to the advancement of minority groups, the promotion of diversity and equal opportunity in the military and federal workforce.
DeRouen, who is also the Wyoming Army National Guard's equal-opportunity officer, was selected from all Air and Army Guard nominations.
Despite a learning disability that prevents her from hearing and manipulating sounds in words, she earned a nursing degree from the Intra American Universidad De Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (pwār`tō rē`kō), island (2005 est. pop. 3,917,000), 3,508 sq mi (9,086 sq km), West Indies, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) SE of Miami, Fla. .
Three times her difficulties forced her to drop out of college, but they couldn't stop her from completing her bachelor's degree. She is now pursuing graduate degrees in marriage and family therapy.
Her struggles motivated her to pursue work in equal opportunity and employment.
"Overcoming all of the obstacles I faced helped me decide to make that a career choice," she said. "I am not doing anything that I haven't done for my own family or myself."
She said she draws her strength from her parents.
Her Hispanic mother earned a college degree in the 1960s and worked for a power company. Her father, an African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. , was a professional boxer and construction worker who pushed for her education while coping with his own illiteracy.
DeRouen learned of her father's inability to read only when she received a letter from him while she was serving in the first Persian Gulf War Persian Gulf War
or Gulf War
(1990–91) International conflict triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Though justified by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on grounds that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq, the invasion was presumed to be .
"And then I understood why, as a child, we would sit around the table and he would make us read out loud to him," she said, "because he wanted to make sure we didn't end up that way."
-Wyoming Guard release
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