Woman Veteran of WWII To Throw 1st Pitch At Legends Game
In 1942, Margaret Mary Somers was learning to teach nursing at Boston University when she asked herself, “What am I doing here?”
The Army recruiting office was right across the street from the school.
“I thought what am I doing at Boston University, learning to teach nursing, when I should be out joining the service,” Mary Somers Ballard says today.
So she did.
On Saturday, the World War II veteran will throw the first pitch at the Lexington Legends baseball game as part of Military Appreciation Night, which will highlight Kentucky’s women veterans. The game begins at 7 p.m. at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington. Tickets are $5.00 for veterans and active-duty military with ID.
As a 23-year-old, Somers served two years in England, where after D-Day she took care of wounded soldiers being flown from France or Germany to Britain. After the war she remained in the reserves until she married.
Today she is the mother of eight, grandmother of 16 and great-grandmother of two, living in her own home in Lexington and still walking and exercising every day.
Ballard explained how she came to the decision to join the military more than 70 years ago:
“My father had died the year before, and I asked my mother how she felt about having me join,” Ballard said. “ And she said that this would be something she would want to do if she were my age. And so I joined.
“We were at war. I joined the Army Air Corps because I thought I could make a contribution.”
The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA) is spotlighting Kentucky’s 33,000 women veterans throughout 2015, which Governor Steve Beshear has proclaimed the Year of the Woman Veteran in Kentucky.
“Our Kentucky women veterans have served honorably and commendably in every aspect of the U.S. military,” Gov. Beshear said. “We are better for their example and they have earned their full benefits and services, as well as our thanks and appreciation.”
“Kentucky Women Veterans Unite! is the motto for the Year of the Woman Veteran because as women and as veterans they know they are stronger united,” said KDVA Commissioner Heather French Henry. “Throughout the year, we will be reaching out to women veterans and to everyone in our communities to make the connections that support and celebrate our women veterans in Kentucky.”
In addition to sponsoring a statewide conference on women veterans in April, KDVA has held and will hold events and present messages tied to the specific concerns of women veterans in all aspects of their lives, including physical and mental health, education, employment and housing.
KDVA is working with state and local partners throughout Kentucky to ensure women veterans have the opportunity to participate in and take full advantage of these events.
“Kentucky’s women veterans, like all our veterans, are a huge potential asset not just to the Commonwealth as a whole, but to each community in which they live and work,” Commissioner Henry said.
“In 2015 the Year of the Woman Veteran, we are making sure that potential is neither wasted nor overlooked.”
For more information about the game visit milb.com
For more information about the Year of the Woman Veteran at veterans.ky.gov/Pages/KY-Women-Veterans-Unite!.aspx